July 8th, 2015 E-Learning

blended-learningMany of the tools out there today for creating interactive elearning courses center around engagement.

Specifically, getting users to “engage” with the content.

On the surface this seems pretty straightforward, but what exactly is engagement, and can it be applied to course material?

If you do a quick search you will find a variety of definitions for elearning course engagement. In general, most tend to fall into one of two categories:

  1. Design Elements
  2. Interactions

Design Elements

Design elements of an online course covers a wide variety of items. In general though you can expect these to include things like font size, font type, quality of images and graphics used, color scheme, navigation, headings and bullet formatting, and overall consistency of these elements across the entire course.

Done correctly, and learners are more likely to engage with the content being presented rather than unnecessarily distracted.


In some ways interactions are similar to the design elements, or at least influenced by them. For example, navigation between lessons of a course is a type of (basic) interaction.

In addition, interactions include points within the course where the learner does something with or to the content. Quizzes are natural interaction components, but so are simple items like “hot spots” (hovering your mouse over an item to get more information), and gamification elements.

Both design and interactions are in many ways interchangeable; they influence one another. When someone says that they want to create an engaging online course, what they really mean is that the design elements and interactions need to be done in a way that helps learners successfully meet learning objectives.

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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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