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emPower eLearning: 6 TIPS: MAXIMIZE LEARNING WITH INTERACTIVITY IN COURSES

Monday, November 21, 2011

6 TIPS: MAXIMIZE LEARNING WITH INTERACTIVITY IN COURSES

Student to Content Interactivity

Interactivity can refer to a lot of things. In the online learning world, it often refers to collaboration & communication often done in discussions, blogs, chats, webinars, etc. However, the tips that follow are specifically for increasing the interactivity between the student and the content in your course. Although you may not have access to all the tools mentioned, just knowing about the possibilities may help you consider the options for increasing interactivity.


1) Presentation Interactions.

Many presention lessons are locked-down funnelling the student from one topic to the next without allowing them any choice as to the order of topics covered or any interaction beyond read and click next. Consider adding a tabbed menu or navigation buttons in your presentation to allow students to choose how to navigate the lesson.  This tiny bit of freedom can empower students as they take a bit more control of their own learning.

For example, the image below shows how interactivity can allow students to choose which character they want to learn about. The opposit of this is when you have a powerpoint slide locked down slide by slide going through each and every character begining to end. Why not allow students the ability to choose?

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 Here are a few examples to give you a better idea from Articulate:
PowerPoint Tip: Do you use Powerpoint for your lessons?  If you want a free tabbed template, there is one available here for free from Articulate. Using this template, you can put your lesson in there with the different topic headings and then students can choose which topic they want to go to. You may also be interested in these tips for spicing up your presentations. On a side note, if you use powerpoint and want to convert your powerpoint slides to flash, you can use this iSpring Free plug-in to convert it to flash which makes it very easy to then upload it into an LMS and students access it without powerpoint. Its pretty simple and free.

2) Video Interactions.  

Thinking back to High School, everyone loved "video" days where the room would be dark and students could just relax and take a nap for an hour or so... probabably not what the teacher had hoped for but often the outcome.  Yes, a huge part of the problem is the quality of videos displayed but that is a seperate topic. Fortunately for online courses, one idea you can do to help students from dozing off is to use either Camtasia Quiz Feature or Raptivity to add questions or callouts to your videos.

During the video, every few minutes, there is a pause and a multiple choice or essay question appears (the student awakes.."oh, I have to actually listen to the video", so he or she restarts the video and begins to pay attention a bit more).  By incorporating these popup questions or callouts during the video, students are more likely to pay attention and teachers can ensure that the key concepts they want to emphasize are pointed out.  In the face to face classroom, a teacher may pause a video to ask a question. This simply allows that same type of interjected interaction for an online course.

Here are a few examples of video interactions from Raptivity.

3) Practice Interactions. 

Practice makes perfect so why not allow students to practice a bit before they have to complete a graded assessment? Interactive practices and simulations help students practice what they have studied and encourages them to self-identify which areas they need to study more. Automatic feedback found in practices can be a powerful learning tool to help students before they have to complete a graded assignment, quiz, or test.


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Here are a few practices examples from Raptivity.

4) Learning Games.   

Multiple choice & true false questions are common for learning vocabulary and knowledge so why not put them in a simple learning game and make it fun? Placing learning games prior to quizes or tests can be a great review for the students. Its similar to any other mutiple choice practice but way more fun. After all who wouldn't want to play the Millionaire Challenge!

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Here are a few other examples from elearningbrothers.com:

5) Miscellaneous Interactions.


These interactions are important but may not fit in other categories. Learning obejcts such as flashcards, tables, and charts which the students can interact with can be more effective than just a simple image.
A few examples from Articulate:
 
6) Mobile Interactions.


Students are always on the go and the majority are already using mobile devices. Integrating mobile components can dramatically increase their interactivity with your course by making it accesible to them wherever they may be.

Much of the examples mentioned previously published to Flash which works great on desktop computers and laptops. However, most don't work on mobile devices. If you have questions about why mobile-friendly content should be in your courses, check out this video on Mobile Technology.

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I'm going to post more on this topic in a later post but for now, here are just a couple links to some options for creating mobile content for online courses.

What other tools have you used? Any other ways to increase the student-content interactivity?

This article was originally posted at   http://tips4blended.posterous.com/6-tips-to-maximize-learning-through-increased

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