Interactive E-Learning: Here’s What Holds You Back

interactive e-learning

I get a lot of questions about interactive e-learning. Often people are looking for specific “interactive” features in the software. However, the key isn’t specific features as much as it understanding how the e-learning software works and applying that to a few simple strategies.

Part 1: Interactive E-Learning Strategies

Here’s a simple strategy I use when building interactive e-learning courses. I focus on a few building blocks, which I’ve written about before.

  • Relevance: the first step is to make sure the content is relevant to the learner. Courses have content but often it’s not framed in a relevant context. That means it’s difficult to engage and motivate the learner.
  • Pull: most courses tend to push content out. It’s how we usually teach. We push content in learning docs, cheat sheets, videos, lectures, etc. One goal should be to get the learner to pull content in. Give them a reason to explore and consume content.

3C interactive e-learning model

I also try not to formally grade the interactions, especially decision-making while they’re in the learning process. I want them to freely make decisions and if they get things wrong, that’s just part of the learning experience. It’s also an opportunity to continue teaching. Formal grading tends to shut that down.

Part 2: Interactive E-Learning Features

I like to think of the e-learning software as a tool that creates multimedia. Most of the time that is used for training, but not all online multimedia needs to be training.

Most e-learning software has out-of-the box interactions like tabs, process, and labeled graphics. However, I try to step away from the intended interactivity and look for different use cases. I look for features that lets the person interact with the screen and then try to find ways for the person to interact with the content using the onscreen interactions.

Flash Card 3C Model

For example, in the simple scenario below, I created a 3C structure and used the Flash Card interaction as a means to review choices and get feedback. The Flash Cards aren’t technically designed for scenarios, but because one can click and reveal, they’re perfect to ask and answer questions in a scenario. And because the learner can click the other options, it lets them explore.

interactive e-learning flash card

Process Interaction

Below is another example to show how to stretch the features to create all sorts of interactive content. I took the same general content which fits perfectly as a process interaction and applied it to different types of blocks to see how they’d work. Essentially they’re all a process interaction, it’s just that I used different features to package the content.

Click here to view the demo.

interactive e-learning 1

Obviously, some make more sense than others. But the point of the exercise is to review the features available and think of different ways to use the interactive parts. Today, it’s a simple process interaction, but next time it could be a decision-making scenario.

E-learning interaction alternative

3C Model: Labeled Graphic

Here’s an example, where I leveraged the Content Library characters with Studio 360 and PowerPoint to create a decision-making image with the labeled graphics.

interactive e-learning labeled graphic

3C Model: Combined Blocks & Accordion Interaction

And another example of a 3C model where I combined a few blocks to create the structure (which I can save as a reusable template) and leveraged the accordion interaction as the way to ask and answer questions in the scenario.

interactive e-learning scenario

As you can see, it’s easy to combine the basic building blocks with interactive features to create an assortment of interactive options that go beyond what the software gives you out-of-the-box. The secret is to start with a simple model and then leverage the interactive features (whether designed for decision-making or not).

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Toxic Cultures

“Love it, change it or leave it.”

It is, fundamentally, the situation many of us find ourselves in within our workplaces.

I’ve talked about it before.  And all you have to do is look up “employee engagement” in Google to see what is happening.

As Karen Kollenz-Qutard points out in her TedTalk – you have a fighting chance of changing your organization if you have

I’m at a point in my career where I don’t have the time or energy to bang my head against that wall if any of those three elements are missing.

We can talk all day about what is wrong and what “leaders” (read – others) should do about it.

I’m going to assume that anything that “leaders” and “others” will do is out of our control.

Furthermore, I am also going to assume that the “leaders” will not change their mind, change the way they operate, or be replaced anytime soon.  Often, the leaders are isolated from the impact of their behavior. Furthermore, keeping things status quo benefits them.

Assuming that the leaders aren’t going to change and the system we work in isn’t going to change – it means that it is up to us, individually, to make the change.

We need to take care of ourselves, even if it means removing ourselves from toxic environments.

If you are not in a position to remove yourself from the toxic environment right now – I have the following insights from my own experience:

  1. Disengage or distract yourself.  Psychopathic bosses do not deserve your energy or effort. You might as well put that energy and effort into something positive that empowers you. And in getting away ASAP. You won’t change them, no matter what your ego tells you. I learned this the hard way. Many times.
  2. Recognize the source of your insecurity.  Remember, they WANT insecure over-achievers.
  3. Spend the time getting very clear on what you want your life to look like and why. You will need that information to help you make decisions and evaluate options as you plot your next move.  (I can help you with this – click here for a free 60-minute chat).
  4. Find your tribe and be extra mindful with your colleagues, even the ones you don’t like.  Chances are, you are ALL suffering. If your leaders won’t model the behavior, you can.  Those individual interactions make all the difference.

It is imperative that, as knowledge workers, we focus our energies on creating supportive environments for ourselves and stop tolerating toxic environments.

Our health and our lives depend on it.


Donald Miller’s 40-minute interview with Dr. Lee Norton on mental health in the workplace.

Harvard Business Review: Evaluating Company Culture

First Round: Practical Frameworks for Beating Burnout

Tara Brach: The Capacity for Deep Listening (8 minutes)

Compliance Simplified: Using Creative Instructional Design Approaches To Instill The Spirit Of “Why Comply”

Compliance Simplified: How To Use Creative Instructional Design Approaches To Instill The Spirit Of Compliance

In this article, we will look at this challenge in detail. As a response to mitigate this, I will outline how we can instill the spirit of “why comply” by using examples that feature compelling creative Instructional Design approaches.


High profile areas of business –especially anything connected to revenue and markets– are governed by regulations. These are sets of rules set out by government bodies on how businesses should operate – covering trades, financial dealings, competition rules, safeguarding, and more.

For example:

  • Rules on insider trading, antitrust, or competition are in place to ensure that financial markets operate fairly, so no party has an advantage over another.
  • Rules on workplace behavior and health and safety are in place primarily to safeguard the people at work.

How And Why Rules Can Be Misunderstood

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples that explore how and why rules can be misunderstood – either because they try to set standards for personal behavior which is complex and can be challenging, or because they set out strict methods of operation, based on market behavior.

Compliance Simplified Example 1: Respect in the workplace.

Respect in the workplace, or in any place, can be a difficult subject to discuss. People do not like to think they are behaving disrespectfully – most people believe they behave well with colleagues and others they encounter in the workplace. That’s because respect is not regulated – it is set by an internal bearing, based on our morals and ethical perspectives, which are in turn derived from our upbringing, past experiences, home lives, and even faith.

Telling someone their behavior is disrespectful to you or to others can be difficult. Respect is often only noted by its absence and by the person who is not being treated with respect. Huge developments in anti-discrimination movements have made discussions about respect (or a lack of it) in the workplace easier to lead.

What can be done: Let me share how we have handled two important aspects to meet the mandate of respect in the workplace.

  • Recognizing disrespectful behavior.
    In the first instance, we have shown how we can build sensitivity to recognize disrespectful behavior. Alongside, we have added a simple test to guide the learners and help them not cross the line.EI Design Compliance Simplified
  • Responding correctly to disrespectful comments.
    In this instance, using a situation analysis approach, we highlight the consequences of each choice made by the learners. Making the learners see the impact of their choices, we can increase the probability of right action.
    EI Design Compliance Simplified Course 1

Compliance Simplified Example 2: Combating bribery in business.

Bribery and corruption is another contentious area. While it is simple to explain the concept and what constitutes a bribe or corrupt behavior, the difficulty lies in ensuring that learners apply the concept and demonstrate expected standards of behavior.

Bribery can easily become the norm – a standard way of doing business with people. While to an outsider, bribery or corruption may be obvious, it may be invisible to someone who thinks it is normal business practice. Gift-giving, hospitality, and entertainment are also tricky areas to negotiate – when does a gift become a bribe?

While many countries have national legislation on bribery and corruption, and the laws of some countries cover behavior beyond their jurisdictions, there are no monetary limits on what constitutes a bribe. Understanding when a gift could be considered a bribe is crucial to understanding the entire concept – and this can be a minefield for employees and managements.

What can be done: In case of combating bribery in business, a very significant aspect is to have employees recognize the red flags and trigger the required action. This is how we have handled this aspect:

EI Design Compliance Simplified Course 2
EI Design Compliance Simplified Course

How Can We Handle These Dynamics?

Through our creative Instructional Design approaches for compliance courses, we have defined an approach we term as Compliance Simplified. The examples shown in this article have been picked up from this approach.

To help learners understand tricky legal premises using this approach, we:

  1. Take complex concepts and demystify them for learners.
  2. Use simple explanations, placing learners into challenging scenarios and asking them to choose a way out – an opportunity to choose the right path.
  3. Explain the consequences of each choice made before posing another similar dilemma – testing the learners’ understanding along the way.

I hope this article was useful in seeing value in our mandate Compliance Simplified and how it can influence and trigger the right behavior. We believe only when this objective is achieved, would the compliance mandate hit the bull’s-eye.

Using innovative and creative Instructional Design techniques for compliance is a very significant practice at EI Design.

Acknowledgement:This article was conceptualized by our business associate Helen O’Gorman who shares my passion to make compliance courses immersive and engaging.


The post Compliance Simplified: Using Creative Instructional Design Approaches To Instill The Spirit Of “Why Comply” appeared first on eLearning.

Nach „Aus“ kommt „Weiter“

„Wir Deutschen rühmen uns für unser System beruflicher Bildung. Wenn wir es retten wollen, müssen wir endlich ernst machen mit dem Schlagwort vom „lebenslangen Lernen“.

Ein kurzer, dringlicher Appell von Jan-Martin Wiarda, gerichtet vor allem an Bundesbildungsministerin Anja Karliczek. Vor Jahren hatte Jay Cross einmal vom „Spending/ Outcomes Paradox“ gesprochen: Die betriebliche Weiterbildung steckt 80 Prozent ihrer Ressourcen in formale Bildung und nur 20 Prozent in die Unterstützung des informellen Lernens, wo aber 80 Prozent aller Lernaktivitäten stattfinden („Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance“, 2006). Jetzt zitiert Jan-Martin Wiarda den Ökonomen Thomas Straubhaar, der kürzlich auf ein vergleichbares Paradoxon hinwies: „Gut 90 Prozent aller Bildungsausgaben würden in die ersten 25 Lebensjahre gesteckt, bleiben weniger als zehn Prozent für die übrigen sechs Jahrzehnte Lebenserwartung, und das schon inklusive der betrieblichen Weiterbildung.“
Jan-Martin Wiarda, Blog, 30. Juli 2018

Bildquelle: Jan-Martin Wiarda (Blog)

Burda Medien beteiligt sich an eLearning-Plattform

Jetzt habe ich in den letzten Wochen so viele Beiträge mit dem Stichwort „EdTech“ verlinkt, dass ich an dieser Nachricht nicht vorbeigehen kann: „Hubert Burda Media baut seine internationalen Aktivitäten aus und investiert in die amerikanische eLearning-Plattform Skillshare, die eine Vielzahl von Kursen aus kreativen, technischen und businessorientierten Disziplinen anbietet. An der Finanzierungsrunde über 28 Millionen Dollar beteiligten sich neben BurdaPrincipal Investments (BPI) auch Union Square Ventures, Amasia und Spero Ventures.“ So heißt es auf CHECK.point eLearning und einigen anderen Portalen mit Wirtschaftsnachrichten.

Nach dem Investment von Bertelsmann in Udacity macht also wieder ein deutscher Medienkonzern einen Bogen um die heimische EdTech-Szene und beteiligt sich lieber an einer amerikanischen Plattform. Skillshare nennt sich selbst „an online learning community with thousands of classes in design, business, tech, and more“. Skillshare wurde parallel, aber unabhängig von der MOOC-Welle gegründet. Es gibt Kurse, die offen sind, und ein Premium-Modell, das Zugang zu „mehr“ verspricht. Aus der Ferne scheint es irgendwie eine Mischung aus Udemy und P2PU zu sein.
CHECK.point eLearning, 30. Juli 2018

Bildquelle: Pepi Stojanovski (Unsplash)

Beyond the Buzz Phrase: Social Learning & LMS Gamification in Real Life (Recording & Slides Included)

If you were busy last Thursday, you may have missed a fun webinar about social learning and gamification.  We had over 170 audience members who contributed great ideas and feedback.  You can take a look at:

  1. The webinar recording courtesy of eLearning Industry, and
  2. The slide deck with images courtesy of Adobe Stock

Below is the session description.  Have an awesome week!

They are the two of the most popular buzz phrases in the Learning and Development industry—social learning and gamification. You’ve likely heard about the benefits of both in terms of learner engagement and retention. This webinar goes beyond theory and focuses on what gamification and social learning LMS features can do for your training program.

Join Katrina Marie Baker and explore how to:

  • Effectively blend social learning into existing courses using an LMS
  • Align gamification initiatives with business objectives so they contribute to your organization’s goals
  • Use learning technology to drive engagement using badges, leaderboards, and rewards

This webinar includes examples of gamification and social learning features found within Adobe Captivate Prime.

The post Beyond the Buzz Phrase: Social Learning & LMS Gamification in Real Life (Recording & Slides Included) appeared first on eLearning.

Free eBook: The Guide To Evolutionary Development: Part 1

A leader must have full understanding of his or hers field of action. In times of fast, dramatic changes, this is not so much a matter of knowledge, rather than a need for the right mindset. This way you can come up with an evolutionary development framework that will deal with complexities and implications. By delving in the insight given here, you will be able to look past established models. Broaden the horizon of your future leaders’ vision with the holistic approach presented here. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

How To Make Employee Compliance Training Work

Compliance training can be more challenging than regular corporate training. For one, the content is usually determined externally, by state or industry bodies. What’s worse, compliance slips can often result in hefty fines. Here are 7 tips to help you craft an effective compliance training program. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.

Performance Reviews Or Continuous Feedback: The Right Approach To Learner Evaluation And Engagement

The “old way’ of teaching was: Trainer provided instruction. Learner absorbed and followed along. Learner proved his/her command of the subject (by writing an end-of-course exam). Trainer evaluated and certified the learner (pass/fail). Based on this model, the end objective was to evaluate… as opposed to facilitating the journey of learning. This post was first published on eLearning Industry.