E-LearningBeehive

Review: Engaging Interactions for eLearning: 25 ways to Keep Learners Awake and Intrigued

This is a review of the eBook by B.J. Schone, titled “Engaging Interactions for eLearning: 25 Ways to Keep Learners Awake and Intrigued”
Link the to full eBook is here

As an E-Learning professional, it seems that I am on a continuous quest to find ways to classify and categorise benchmark examples of good E-Learning. My reason for doing this is to find a way to define the foundational characteristics of E-Learning in terms of research and established teaching principles. E-Learning is a field in which learning principles can be drowned in a sea of technology. While it is no doubt beneficial to find ways of putting new whiz-bang technology to practical use, there should always be a point of reference that brings us back to the question, “But is it good teaching?” And good teaching is about good learning – from the learner’s perspective.

I often find myself going back to Bloom’s taxonomy to define the parameters of good E-Learning, although I’m sure that Bloom’s team would not have thought of their research being used for this purpose when they carried it out in the 1950′s. Schone provides a alternative framework which pegs out some satisfying boundaries for instructional designers.

B.J. Shone has put the thought power behind the same goal and delved into a broad range of current research to provide his rationale for defining and creating 25 engaging E-Learning interactions.

Schone defines four levels of interactions: 1. Passive, 2. Limited interaction, 3. Complex interaction, 4. Real-time interaction. The point to note that it is significant to choose the appropriate level of interaction for every learning experience. In addition, Shone defines four types of knowledge and information processing; 1. Factual, 2. Conceptual, 3.Procedural, and 4. Metacognitive. Knowing the type of information that needs to be transferred to the learner is critical to the design process. With these definitions clarified, Shone moves on to explore the hot buzz-word of the E-Learning industry: Learner engagement.

So, what makes E-Learning engaging? Schone sums up the elements of engagement as five directives that instructional designers need to consider form the learner’s perspective. 1. They must face some type of challenge, 2. They must make decisions, 3. They are allowed to explore, 4. They are allowed to make mistakes without being disciplined, and 5. They have fun. This all adds up to an immersive learning experience with an empowering focus on the learner.

Having completed this introduction, Shone gets down to the nitty-gritty of defining 25 engaging interactions. Each of the 25 interactions defined also references the level of interaction and the knowledge type, as previously defined.

For the purposes of this review, I will provide an overview of two these interactions: numbers 1 and 15.

1. Scattered Steps

Example: Display scattered steps representing a safety procedure: “What are the steps for correctly addressing a hazardous materials spill? Put the correct steps in order.”

The learner arranges the steps of a process in correct order, with relevant feedback for correct and incorrect answers.

The pieces may be designed to “snap” together.

Level of Interaction: 2

Knowledge Types: Factual, conceptual and procedural

15. Using and Agent or Character

Example: In a course teaching how to use a new GPS system, use a talking map of compass as a character to introduce content, describe features of the device, and assist with exercises.

Level of Interaction: 2, 3

Knowledge Types: Factual, conceptual, procedural and metacognitive

Other interactions include: Myth or Fact (like True of False), Interactive Timelines, Acronyms ofrAlphabet Fill-Ins, Order of Importance, Find the Mismatched/Stand-out Item, Story-based Questions, Simple Game-Based Interactions, Exploring a Complex Process or Procedure, A Customer’s Perspective, Incomplete Stories, What’s Wrong with this Picture?, Before and After or Old Way vs. New way, Teach-back (a.k.a. Train the New Person), Scavenger Hunt, Read/Watch and Reflect, Fix It!, Did I do this Correctly?, Story-based Adventure, Branching Stories, Challenge and Response, Interactive Spreadsheets, Virtual Products/Virtual Labs, and Solving a Mystery/Investigating a Scenario.

Each of the interaction types represents a method of placing learners in situations where they are challenged, must make decisions, are allowed to explore, can make mistakes without fear of reprimand and mostly – have fun as they learn.

Schone provides a short summary of E-Learning 2.0., which he  says typically moves away from the style of the 25 interactions outlined in the book. The how-to’s of creating engaging interactions, as well as specific technological tools, are left to the creativity of the instructional designer, but Shone provides a rational framework for underpinning this process. However, each of the interactions can be extended to incorporate E-Learning 2.0 technologies, depending on courseware development requirements, such as: wikis for team collaboration, blogs, social media, and RSS readers. Interaction 15 “Using an Agent of Character” would certainly be one of the cutting edge examples of using 2.0 technology, which brings to mind the use of Sloodle (Second Life Moodle) and IAPA’s (Interactive Animated Pedagogical Agents). Search Youtube for examples. The only limit on extending these interaction is the imagination of the instructional designer.

This eBook is valuable reading for any person or organisation preparing to introduce, or already involved with, E-Learning, and needing clarity on the first principles of teaching. The 25 engaging interactions provide enough resources for many E-Learning courses, which would not only be relevant, but enjoyable, powerful – and engaging – learning experiences for learners.

David Isaacson is a Courseware Developer, specialising in E-Learning, online learning and mobile learning technology. He saw the powerful potential of  using of E-Learning tools in teaching and training in 1999, when he developed digital portfolios with class of Year 8 students on the school intranet, hyperlinking Word and PowerPoint Files.  He has trained as an Apple technician and was a full-time ICT teacher/network manager for over five years, teaching multimedia skills to up to 180 students a day, as well as providing technical support to teachers. As a professional courseware developer, he has developed online learning materials for undergraduate and postgraduate courses. His range of E-Learning tools includes Captivate 5.5, Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Audacity, Photoshop, Fireworks, HTML and CSS. He is a fan of integrated, holistic learning experiences and interested in linking E-Learning to learning theory, e.g. Bloom’s taxonomy. David resides in Melbourne, Australia.

Short URL: http://elearningbeehive.granvillestevens.com/?p=515

Posted by on Dec 20 2011. Filed under Articles, Book Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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E-learning Beehive, based in Melbourne, Australia, covers reviews and information about elearning development, e learning software, e learning processes, elearning website reviews, learning management system information, software for e learning, and e learning course information, apprentissage en ligne
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