Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Emerging Trends in Interactivity that Training Professionals Cannot Ignore

In this post I would like to relate five emerging trends in interactivity that training professionals cannot ignore. I will also name a few tools that help you leverage those trends.

Interactive Presentations
Presenters are increasingly relying upon interactive elements to help their presentations come alive. Trainers and teachers can no longer make do with bullet points. Learners expect interactive elements in your presentations. Examples of tools that help you build interactivity to your presentations are YawnBuster, Flash and Silverlight - to name a few.

Virtual Worlds, 3D Environments, Learning Games
These interactivities create immersive experiences. Second life, Proton Media, Teleplace are some of the tools that let you do that.

Rapid Interactivity
Tools for building interactivity quickly and easily have lowered the entry barrier to interactivity building. Raptivity is a great example of that. Over 200 readymade interactivity templates are part of Raptivity and you don’t have to write a single line of code to create a branching simulation or a crossword or a 3 dimensional tour or a virtual world experience.

Composite Applications with Widgets
In web-based learning environments, composite apps are a big value-add. I recently completed a leadership development program for 40 managers. And the entire training program was delivered over a blog. The blog posts contained Raptivity elements, exercises and modules the learners to complete, and I used a Twitter gadget inside my blog. The Twitter gadget was my way of communicating with them in real time instantly.

User-Generated Content from Social Interactions
Embedded social interactions bring content alive. These are fascinating and they are a breeze to set up. It’s extremely easy to embed social interactions to bring content alive. Sidewiki is an interesting tool. Its a little Wiki that sits on a website and people who know stuff in addition to what they see on a website, can go ahead and add it to Wiki. So, here’s the site and here’s the little SideWiki with user generated content. Together, the result is richer than the original content. TeemingPod is another tool that lets you embed social interactions into your training content.

So, if you are a learning professional, these are some of the things you need to aware of and there are several technologies you can take advantage of. At first, the tools may look intimidating, but let me tell you, it’s never been easier to set up a learning environment, to bring interactivity to your learning content than it is today.


  1. Hello Vikas,
    I found your post very interesting. I agree learners definitely expect and deserve more than black and white text with bullet points. E-learning course development should be focused on the learner. Thanks for sharing innovative ways to implement interactivity into the learning environment.

  2. If you read Ruth Clark or any noted educational theorist, you will know that the term interactive learning refers to the active processing of information presented in a courseware. To simplify it, interactive learning means interaction between content, learning environment, and a learner. Can this be done using Raptivity interactivities? The answer is obvious no.

    Elearning courses are not meant to entertain learners. If learners want to be entertained, they will go and watch a nice movie. There is no point in employing interactivities to entertain learners. If you want the designers to use Raptivity interactivities to entertain learners, you are forgetting the basics of instructional design.

    We use interactivities in the elearning courses to promote the transfer of learnt skills and knowledge to a job. To do this, our interactivities must mirror the job environment where the skills being learnt will be applied. Do you think Raptivity interactivities mirror job environments? I am sure they don’t. So why use them?

  3. Definately these are emerging trends. But are they valid or appropriate tools for eLearning? I am not sure they are. Certainly, keeping peoples attention, varying stimuli and focusing on key messages are all good, but these tools seem to not be really designed for eLearning.

  4. Hi Vikas,
    Many thanks for the brilliant post, last weekend I stumbled upon this brilliant video http://tinyurl.com/m8hl25. This 7 min video begins by explaining various learning styles of today’s generation and midway concludes that no matter whatever one’s learning style, fundamentally they are all digital learners. Most of them have consumed more than 20000 hours of TV, 10000 hours of video games, 20000 hours of cell phone interaction by the time they graduate. Today’s teachers & trainers have to come up with engaging content to complement / compete with these high quality digital mediums for learners attention and mind share. Traditionally this has never been easy, simply because of the instructional design and technology effort required to make it happen. However thanks to innovations like www.Raptivity.com and www.teempingpod.com which makes the job of creating an in context and engaging learning environment for the training professionals very easy. It seems like today’s training professionals will be ready to compete & win after all
    Cheers - Neel.

  5. @InFact Group: I think these trends are for 'Learning Professionals' (classroom, eLearning or social learning) and not necessarily only for 'eLearning professionals'. From that perspective, these are well presented. Interactive presentations need to be used in classrooms, virtual worlds and rapid interactivity are relevant for eLearning and the rest two for social learning.

    @Himmat Kesrod: These are emerging trends in interactivity and not a blog post about Raptivity. Raptivity is being mentioned with respect to virtual world and immersive learning experiences around that and with reference to rapid interactivity. There is no reference of Raptivity with respect to entertainment of learners. I don't know where that came from?