December 5th, 2016 Instructional Design

woman-with-finger-gogglesOne thing that people like about an elearning course is when it contains various interaction points. This keeps the learner engaged and thinking about the content in different ways.

Without interactions the entire experience is boring and arguably ineffective.

If it is your responsibility to create elearning on a particular subject you should look for ways to incorporate interaction points. The good news is that this is pretty easy to do. What’s more, you don’t need to go overboard to make an impact. Some simple and subtle interactions are all you need.

Wondering what kind of interactions you can use? Here are some of the more common ones as originally detailed by Atomi Systems:

Using Characters

Animated characters can carry out conversations with your learners, give advice, and guide them through the content. Having a consistent character throughout the course as the guide adds to the structure of a course while also creating an element that the learner can relate to.

If you have multiple characters make sure that you define the distinct role each character plays in the course narrative. One may be a guide, another a protagonist, and perhaps server antagonists. Keep these roles consistent throughout.


This has been a hot-topic item for a few years now and with good reason: it works. Using points, badges, high-scores, leaderboards, and similar systems in your course thrusts the learner into the content while tapping into people’s innate desire to “win”.


These kind of interactions are more complex in nature in that they pose a multiple-probable-outcome situation to learners and request a contemplative response to the scenario. Often times ‘branching’ is a tactic coupled with scenarios which gives the learner the ability to make free choices.

Hot Spots

Very simple to implement, these kind of interactions usually require the learner to hover their mouse over certain areas of the screen to reveal more information. It’s a subtle tool that can be used to keep forward-momentum in the course.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter


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Funny thing is that I think all those interactions can be contained in gamification – as all those effects are familiar from gaming. And they work well, really well – I like the idea of using characters in particular. I remember how I held some of my university classes in Second Life and Institute’s headmaster came to class – as a giant lion! This I think was a “game-changer” for conversion rate in a from “heard about it” to “logging in” funnel 😀

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