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If you think that ‘interactive design’ is purely to make online courses look nice, you’d be wrong (although, it does make them look good). It’s about bringing learning to life and increasing its chances of being understood. So yeah, you could say it’s pretty important!

With this in mind, we’ve put together seven compelling reasons why interactive design is one of the most important things to consider in eLearning.

1. It grabs the users' attention

There’s nothing worse than an online course you can tell is going to be boring from the very first screen. 20 years ago, it was acceptable for eLearning to be text-heavy and dry. But today’s users demand more from a custom eLearning course, and rightly so! They want videos, animations, illustrations and photos to grab their attention and bring the content to life. To do that, the course needs to look more like the kind of content users engage with every day on social media, and not a piece of online learning. That’s the challenge.

2. It helps to prolong user engagement

We think it’s vital that a course makes the user an active participant in their own learning journey. If not, you’re running the risk of a user not absorbing the information and just rushing through it as fast as they can. But videos and animations can help to explain complex situations and concepts in a way that’s both interesting and engaging to several audiences. Try achieving that with the written word! Put it this way: it’s a struggle!

3. It gets information across in fun ways

Obviously, the main goal of any online course is to give the user the information they need. That makes eLearning a serious business, by nature. But why does that mean that the content needs to be presented seriously? We think the best way of getting users interested in the learning is by getting them engrossed in games and quizzes where all the learning has been embedded. Done right, the user will hardly notice that they are learning something, and engagement levels will soar!

4. It allows for great storytelling

Great storytelling has always been the most effective way of getting a message across – and always will be – so why would this be any different with eLearning? Interactive eLearning design allows for users to follow narratives that involve different people and characters. Instead of situations being described in an abstract way, with little connection to emotion or real life, this method can bring it to life and help the user connect with it better.

5. It creates real-life situations

People say that the best way of learning is by doing. Interactive design gives users the chance to do just that by presenting them with real-life scenarios; where they have to make a decision. The great thing about this way of learning is that it gives the user the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in a subject but without any of the risks associated with real-life decisions. This kind of interactivity is perfect for users learning about dangerous machinery or work that involves high risk.

6. It can put the user in control of their learning

Okay, so most courses start at the beginning and finish at the end, but does that mean your learning has to as well? Digital learning allows users to dip in and out of courses because not everyone can sit down and complete their training in one go. Also, giving users the chance to pick and choose which part of the learning they want to start with can improve all-round engagement. If they want to start at the end because it looks more fun, why stop them? If they are doing it, that’s good, right?

7. It can make tests feel as though they are not tests

After a user has completed the learning element of a course, they usually have to showcase their newly acquired knowledge to pass the course. This would either be a scary-looking assessment (which probably reminded people of a bit too much of school) or your classic multiple-choice questions. However interactive design can make these assessments fun by presenting them as engaging quizzes or tasks that still demonstrate knowledge from the course.

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