“Interaction takes place in the brain, not the finger. ” -Thiagi

Most learning professionals know that learners learn best when they can interact with the material. Too often, when people think of interactive learning, they usually think of traditional eLearning. While an eLearning course can be a great way to present content in a self paced, interactive manner, it has its limitations, and interactive learning does not have to be boxed in by those constraints. Not only does interactive learning not have to be constrained by the limits of an eLearning course, it does not have to involve computers or any technology at all. All that is required for a rich, interactive learning experience is to include the learner in the learning process.

So How Can I Make Learning More Interactive?

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” -Benjamin Franklin

Electronic alternatives to traditional eLearning

If you want to step away from traditional eLearning, but you still want to use electronic tools, try these suggestions:

  • “Serious games” – Serious games are eLearning stories and scenarios with a gaming format. Have the learner go through scenarios where they get to choose how to act. Keep score of their choices, either with sales figures or other numerical goals.
  • Social media – social media is pretty well established as a communication and marketing tool, but one of it’s lesser known uses is learning. Have learners create accounts on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn and discuss topics and ask/answer questions. Explore other options depending on the topic being learned and the business or learning objectives. LearnChat hosts Twitter based chat sessions about topics monthly at http://lrnchat.com/ The s.imple act of communication and collaboration engages the learner and involves a great deal of interactivity.
  • Webinars – A great option for synchronous online learning. Classes or seminars can be hosted online using a variety of tools.
  • Message boards and online forums – Good ol’ fashioned message boards and forums can be used for asynchronous learning where learners interact with each other and engage with content.
  • Mobile apps and activities – try a mobile learning game to engage and have learners interact. My favorite is SCVNGR, which is a location-based app that allows users to check in to locations, but also makes them perform tasks in order to get points for the check in. This could be used as a learning tool by having learners go to locations in a city or on a campus and learn different facts or perform tasks.

Non-technological interactive learning alternatives:

  • Field trips – Just going to a physical site involves interacting with content. Make learners read, listen to, experience, or do things to round out the learning experience. Combine the aforementioned SCVNGR to combine a technological and non-technological experience.
  • Mentoring – Mentors and mentees both learn from the mentorship experience and interact at a very high level. This also encourages relationships, comradery, and growth.
  • Panel discussions – each learner gets a topic and becomes an “expert” before joining the panel
  • Case studies – case studies involve reading about a scenario and then making judgements or analyses about the situation.

http://www.thiagi.com/textra-games.html has some really great ideas for interactive games away from the screen.

2 Comments on “Interactive Learning: Alternatives to traditional eLearning and alternatives to technology

  1. Artice Upchurch

    Excellent read! What I’ve come to learn is people are more capable of learning or remembering when the emotions are involved. Interactive learning most definitely helps with this as it involves the whole being. Thank you so much for sharing this post. 🙂


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