Although eLearning programs are able to overcome the geographical constraints that arise in the conventional class, they also create uncertainty amongst the learners about the quality and frequency of the interaction they enjoy (Borup, West & Graham, 2012). In distance learning, feedback is categorized into feedback among the learner towards the content, the trainer/educator towards the learner, and finally the learners (Chou, Peng & Chang; 2010). Regular interaction among the teachers, the students, and the content is a vital factor in achieving learning objectives (Wei, Peng & Chou, 2014).
According to Yung-Ming (2013), factors influencing the perception of interaction experienced by users are mainly about controlling the content, the sequence of communication, the speed and the consistency of the responses they receive, and the personalization of the feedback on their questions and actions.
These factors influence the intrinsic motivation of users, the perception of the ease of use of the learning system, as well as the consideration of the usefulness and the interest that stimulates (Framework for improving web-based eLearning interactivity, 2016). Indeed, the importance of perception of ease of use and feedback are found to irredeemably affect students' performance in eLearning programs (Wei, Peng & Chou, 2014).
Best Practices To Increase eLearning Interactivity
Interaction needs to be reinforced by concrete practices that will satisfy the needs and the potential insecurity of trainees. In order to facilitate distance learning, teachers use electronic platforms such as Moodle and Blackboard, which support the management of online courses and activities while enhancing student exposure to the teaching subject (Wei, Peng & Chou, 2014).
Those platforms have to be enhanced with the appropriate tools that will facilitate the communication between the participants such as email forms and chat rooms. Thus the student will overcome the fear of insecurity due to the distance barrier. If those obstacles are set aside, the user will become more willing to log in regularly to the system and take part in the implemented activities. After all, it is imperative that users enter frequently, as it has been observed that this way the interactivity with other participants, teachers, and pupils is strengthened (Wei, Peng & Chou, 2014).
Educators play a key role in engaging students with other participants in a modern and asynchronous way, encouraging them to respond to their questions by creating a learning community that will provide learners with equal opportunities for communication such as live lessons and interaction in the virtual environment (Maboe, 2017).
At the end of the course, the teacher should be able to develop with the students an asynchronous communication and manage it in the appropriate way so that the learning community can engage in discussions on the topic to be debated (Maboe, 2017). Besides every course developed should be enriched with content that not only offers meaningful skills to the trainees but also needs to be presented in a way that attracts their attention and interest. In addition, certain mechanics have to be used, such as gamification techniques, to teach the user a new skill or behavior as they indicate the decision’s consequence in the interaction. This allows the user to see how his/her choices affected the outcome and as a result encourage him/her to make better choices.
Finally it should be kept in mind that substantial technical assistance should be provided to the users because of issues that may arise due to lack of the necessary technological knowledge and to ensure the smooth operation of the system throughout the program (Maboe, 2017).
Τhis article was also published at https://elearningindustry.com/interactivity-in-elearning-programs-importance
- Borup, J., West, R.E. & Graham, C.R. (2012), Improving online social presence through asynchronous video. The Internet and Higher Education, 55(3), 195-203.
- Chou, C., Peng, H. Y. & Chang, C. Y. (2010). The technical framework of interactive functions for course-management systems: students' perceptions, uses, and evaluations. Computers & Education, 55(3), 1004-1017.
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- Maboe, K. A. (2017). Full Length Article: Use of online interactive tools in an open distance learning context: Health studies students' perspective. Health SA Gesondheid, 22221-227. doi:10.1016/j.hsag.2017.02.001
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