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Interactivity & Individualization Tools and Tips

Below are a number of suggestions for how to incorporate Interactivity and Individualization into your eLearning lessons. Remember, interaction can take on any of three different forms: studentstudent, student-instructor, student-content. We'll also note which type of interaction you might create with these various tools. We hope that you find them useful!

Learn participants' needs (survey tools)


Individualization: to assess the experience of participants of your eLearning sessions and thereby tailor your session to be more valuable for each individual, you might consider posing a presession survey to your participants. Survey tools can serve to engage the student with the content and can provide context for creating a more individualized experience (perhaps a student-instructor experience) for the learner in subsequent lessons. Check out these survey tools: www.surveymonkey.com http://www.limesurvey.org http://www.createsurvey.com

"Real World" Interaction (Blogs)


It has been proven that learners gain significant value from the opportunity to apply analytical skills and exercise problem-solving skills in contextually relevant or "real world" situations. Case studies are an excellent tool for providing such an opportunity. A very easy to use and highly accessible forum for presenting case studies to learners where that they can engage in all three types of learning (student-student, student-instructor, student-content) is in a blog. Instructors can create the blog, present the case study and allow learners to discuss and pose their solutions or ideas about the study. Check out these simple to use tools for blogging: www.blogger.com/start http://wordpress.com/ www.livejournal.com

I&I in Live eLearning (synchronous web-meeting tools)


Incorporating Interactivity and Individualization in a synchronous (real-time) eLearning session requires skill and planning on the part of the presenter(s). Some tools for engaging your participants to interact during an e-session include Q&A, polls, and white-boarding. Take care to pause at regular intervals to interact with your learners. For improved individualization, get to know your participants with introductions including some pointed questions at the beginning and then pose relative questions to participants during the session (student-instructor interaction). Check out these options for delivering your own live eLearning session: www.webex.com www.livemeeting.com www.gotomeeting.com

Engage with Social Interaction (discussion tools)


Discussions on virtually any topic, whether synchronous or asynchronous, lend themselves to the social instructional value which is critical for creating a valuable learning experience for your audience. If you're interested in creating an engaging student-student interactive experience, check out these discussion tools: http://gong.ust.hk/ http://www.boards2go.com/ http://www.quicktopic.com/

Interactivity & Individualization Tools and Tips


Provide Support for eLearners (chat tools)
Providing your eLearning students adequate support throughout their eLearning experience can be that key element that keeps their attention and engagement in the lesson and therefore makes the lesson valuable to them. Consider interacting with your participants (student-instructor) and offering them an opportunity to "ask the expert", share their experience or receive feedback from you and other learners using a discussion or chat tool. There are a number of free chat tools to choose from. Here are a couple of tools that you might recognize: http://messenger.yahoo.com/chat.php http://get.live.com/messenger/overview

Interacting with Games is Fun! (tools for building games)


While incorporating interactivity into your eLearning sessions is critical for your audience, the interaction does not have to be between the learner and the instructor or other learners--it can be between the learner and the content. A fun way to incorporate learner-content interactivity is by incorporating a learning game into your session or eLearning curriculum. Check out these tools for the development of eLearning games: http://www.learningware.com/indexcorp.php Captivate: www.adobe.com Quandary: http://www.halfbakedsoftware.com/quandary.php Impatica: http://www.impatica.com/imp4ppt/index.html

Let Learners Call the Shots (tools for creating canned sessions)
Allowing your learners to direct their own learning experience and to participate in sessions and activities of their choice is an excellent way of incorporating both individualization and interactivity in your lessons. You can create asynchronous learning sessions that are split into various sections or chapters and invite your participants to explore those sections of greatest interest (student-content interaction). Some tools that you might consider for creating your eLearning session are: www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp www.adobe.com/products/captivate http://www.techsmith.com/screen-capture.asp http://audacity.sourceforge.net/