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Creating learner trust

through interactivity

With an ever-increasing number of ways

to create learning content, we face the

question of how to use interactivity

correctly, rather than whether or not we

can make content interactive.

One of the questions that Instructional

designers, teachers, trainers, and editorial

teams face daily is "How many interactives

should I include?"

The truth is, there is no golden rule or magic

formula to calculate this. As tempting as it is to

'engage' the learner with interactivity, its

usage can be a double-edged sword. When

properly used, interactivity can entice the

learner to look forward to participating in the

next interactive. When properly used, it can

provide a deep breath before diving into a

complex concept. However, when improperly

used, interactivity can be counterproductive to

the learning.

Each interactive is an opportunity to engage,

maintain engagement, or (unfortunately) lose

a learner. Each one will teach something: it

will either teach the intended concept, or it

will teach the learner to skip right over the

interactives. To avoid the latter, with each

step of the planning, keep the potential trust of

the person in mind.

"I trusted that there is a reason for


Learning design can establish an unspoken

language between learner and content. The

learner should not be responsible for

deciphering why they were just asked to

spend time on an interactive. It is their job to

learn and our job to make this as smooth a

process as possible.

The presence of an interactive can signal to

the individual that this is a concept worthy of

extra attention. Be it a direct learning objective

or a foundational concept to a learning

objective, targeting high value learning

concepts as candidates for interactivity sets a

precedent and a cadence to the flow of the


The presence of interactivity can also signal

that there is a concept worthy of extra time.

Shawn Burson

Director of Learning Design




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