The digital era has relegated static online courses to the pages of history. New technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and interactive presentations have changed learner expectations such that they are no longer satisfied with just videos and text, giving rise to the concept of interactive training. Fortunately, developing interactive online training modules has become more manageable with the availability of online tools. In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide to creating interactive training modules. But first let’s look at some interactive training essentials.
What is interactive training?
As the name suggests, interactive training is a form of training, in which learners learn by doing and are, therefore, active participants in the knowledge gaining process rather than passive absorbers of information. Interactive training is not just about sitting back, watching videos or presentations, and clicking the next button. Rather it involves problem-solving, analyzing scenarios and real-life decision-making. With interactive learning, learners gain new knowledge and at the same time, sharpen their critical, analytical and creative skills.
What constitutes an interactive training module?
Online interactive training modules include a range of interactive elements, however, they vary depending on the complexity of the course. So, basic training courses may include audio, video, text and graphics, and learners participate in activities that require them to click, press hotspots or drag and drop.
On the other hand, more complex interactive online modules can include features such as animations, gamification, interactive live images, branching scenarios, digital stories, and customized audio. An ideal online interactive module, whether basic or complex, is one that provides learners an immersive experience and greater control over the learning and the learning environment.
While designing a fully immersive course may require you to have the right technical know-how, you can start small with adding basic interactive elements to the course. For the more complex interactive formats, you can seek services of eLearning service providers to help you design customized interactive training modules.
Benefits of interactive training modules
While there are several benefits to be reaped from interactive training modules, we look at the more important ones.
- Self-learning: The learners get an opportunity to explore the learning environment, which in turn, draws them into the module, prompting them to proceed and learn at their own pace. So, it may be that they take up a particular course, and the online environment, for instance, a learning experience platform (LXP), based on their viewing choice. Interactive online learning provides them more such options to make learning a continuous experience.
- Gain Real-life Perspectives: One of the greatest benefits of interactive training modules is that course developers can replicate and enhance real-life scenarios by using simulations, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Learners, therefore, not only gain real-life perspectives, but also hone their skills in solving real-time problems, albeit in a safe virtual environment in which they can put their skills to test, learn by trial and error, and avoid mistakes that could cost the company dear in terms of loss of client, revenue and reputation.
- Benefit from Non-intrusive Assessment: With interactive training modules, instructors can gauge learner performance spontaneously and non-intrusively. For instance, assessments come in the form of branching scenarios, which allow learners to trace and retrace their paths to reach a successful outcome. This form of assessment is less invasive and judgemental, rather, it acts as a motivational factor that pushes the learners towards their goals.
As the popular saying goes, ‘tell me and I will forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’ This is perhaps the most important motivation for interactive training modules. With this being said, let us now look at the steps to create interactive training modules that boost engagement and motivation.
How to Create an Online Training Program for Employees
How to create interactive training modules?
The process is simple once you understand your audience and objectives and choose the interactive elements to include in your course. Once this is done, everything else falls in place.
Add Interactive Elements: Include interactive elements such as button click, pop-up, or drag and drop which the learners would have to perform to progress through the course. The trick is to make sure that they have something to do on each page. Otherwise, a lack of consistent interaction will defeat the very purpose of the course.
Add Digital Storytelling: This creative learning approach is centered on the needs of the learner. It evokes their emotions, prompting them to take control over the course, challenging them to decipher how the story would unfold. For example, you can create a story around a usual day at work at your organization and bring it alive with digital media. You can use this as an interactive training module to onboard new employees. This story will give a human face to your company and set the stage for what the employees can expect in their new roles.
Include Videos: Various studies have shown the effectiveness of videos in attracting and holding learner attention while leading to long-term retention. Use interactive 360° videos and images to immerse the learners in the course, for instance, you can have videos that walk them through actual locations to familiarize them with the environment in which they will be working or how they would have to perform a particular task.
While incorporating videos, make sure they are based on the concept of microlearning. In other words, ensure they are crisp and concise, about 3 to 5 minutes long, so that learners can consume them with ease anytime and anywhere, without experiencing any cognitive overload. Besides, these videos are also ideal for on the job performance support, providing your employees the right information at the right time.
Create Simulated Environments: As said above, perhaps one of the greatest advantages of interactive training modules is that they allow learners to learn by doing. Using technologies such as VR and AR, create simulated environments that allow them to practice their skills in safe settings without the fear of making mistakes. They can revisit these environments repeatedly until they have mastered the new skills and are confident to translate them into action.
Devise Branching Scenarios: Branching scenarios give control to the learners letting them build their own narrative, and thus, personalize their learning. Add specific decision-points that allow them to change the narrative based on the choices they make. Branching scenarios add a sense of challenge and adventure to the learning, motivating learners to explore and at the same time, build on their decision-making, critical thinking, and analytical skills.
Now that you know how to create interactive training modules, you may still wonder, is it as easy as it sounds? The answer is yes. With accessible technology, you can easily create immersive, engaging and highly interactive training modules that pass control of the learning to the learners. You need a right combination of hardware and software, and of course, a whole lot of creativity to create such courses. However, if you are short on time and wish to focus on your core areas, you may outsource your requirements to eLearning course development companies to create bespoke interactive training modules which can be delivered using a learning management system or a learning experience platform.
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