Have you ever wondered about the differences between traditional and interactive learning content? What does this difference mean for the process of producing content? And its capacity to keep the attention of learners? Above all, what is the impact of the two from the standpoint of learner engagement?
Interactive learning content is designed to enable the learner to take part in all stages of the learning process and respond to instructions. It makes the learner apply the lessons to solving exercises and assignments and thus makes for better understanding and memory.
In other words, traditional learning content involves a unilateral flow of content from the learning management system to the learner. While interactive content involves a cyclical flow of content and responses. Interactive learning content follows a closed loop model of communication. It allows a two-way exchange of information from an LMS and responses from the learner. Thus making the pedagogy engaging.
But, traditional content type follows a linear and open loop model of communication. It allows the learner to watch, read or listen to content as a passive element but does not allow the learner to engage with what is being taught.
Needless to say, interactive learning content offers much higher learner engagement than traditional learning content.

What Goes into the Production of Interactive Content?

Interactive content includes all formats that support a conversation between an LMS and the learner. Thus it makes imparting instructions a two-way street with enough scope for the learner to participate and respond. Major such content types include the following:
  1. PowerPoint Presentations
  2. Branching Scenarios
  3. Video Blogs
  4. Animations
  5. Simulated Environments
  6. Games
The above stated content types have the effect of making the pedagogy more interactive, make the learner respond to assignments, tasks and questions from time to time. They hold the attention of the learner for longer spans of time. These interactive content types enable –
– communication with the learner,
– make the learner an integral part of the learning process,
– invoke a continuous dialogue between the learning material and learner and avoid lapses in attention

How Does Interactive Learning Content Make Organizations Agile?

Interactive learning content allows learners to hone the skill of mindfulness, drop the baggage of business practices that become redundant over a length of time. In an organizational setting marked by continuously evolving contours of technology, business and economy, mindfulness is one of the most time-tested and sought-after skills for employees to have.
Interactive learning content makes learners respond to situations. Once people in an organization get accustomed to responding to assignments, tasks and exercises, they carry forward the habit to the workplace. When people are exposed to learning content that it is interactive, they also learn the habit of responding faster and better.
It nudges people to observe a phenomenon, spot challenges, deploy resources and take action. The transformation of agile learners into an agile workforce gives way to a sea change in the organizational culture and motivates people to step out of their comfort zones, take initiative and create the changes that they want to see.
Over-length of time organizations that deploy such interactive learning content witness the growth of conformists into leaders, i.e. people who are genuinely more empowered and enabled to respond to business challenges.

Why Do Learners Find It Difficult to Pay Attention to Traditional Learning Content?

A major demerit of traditional learning content is that it does not help learners to pay attention in any way. Following are the ways in which traditional learning content affects the attention of learners:
  • Most learners in an organizational setting pay granular attention to a task. Their attention tends to ebb and flow.
  • Learners from the community of professionals have to deal with a multitude of distractions including email notifications, sporadic instant messages, multiple meetings, conversations with people during work and multitasking, etc. These factors affect the attention of people adversely and a traditional learning management system is rather ill-equipped to deal with these distractions.
  • Traditional learning management systems make use of static content like images and large chunks. These static forms of content allow no scope for the learner to respond and participate and thus leaves the learner’s mind exposed to external factors.
  • Further traditional learning content is not participatory. It does not allow the learner to participate in the learning process and thus little to help the learner to understand and register concepts in his/her memory.

Which Learning Content Has Better Receptivity?

Learners are known to show higher receptivity to interactive learning content types that include a substantial majority of visuals like videos, animations and simulations. In fact, the human brain can process a visual image much faster than static content types; precisely 1/10th of a second.
Moreover, interactive content can be accessed through personal devices anytime and at any location and thus makes the process of learning faster, more efficient and smoother. With business processes, communication and decision making in the business getting faster, the demand for plug and play solutions for learning have increased exponentially
Learning on-demand that is facilitated by one touch of a device is the future. Interactive learning content shall have a great role to play in this transition towards making learning time, location, platform and device agnostic.
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