The Importance of Engagement and Interactivity in Online Learning

Designing Digitally


The Importance of Engagement and Interactivity in Online Learning

Online learning is a better experience when the lessons are designed to create learner engagement. Engagement is improved by creating an emotional response in the learner. An online learning system designer tries to make learning as interesting as possible. Users of these systems are often in environments where there are plenty of distractions. Lessons that have strong learner engagement grab the attention of the user, even when there are plenty of distractions competing for their attention.

There are many ways to increase learner engagement and interactivity in online learning systems. There are also plenty of benefits from making this effort to improve online learning.

For example, the benefits of increasing learner engagement in an online learning system include:

  1. More memory retention of the lesson content.
  2. Improved productivity of the employees.
  3. Increased job satisfaction.
  4. Individual improvement supports positive organizational growth.
  5. Reduced employee turnover.
  6. Empowering employees with an upward career path for advancement.
  7. Uniform dissemination of important information and company policies.

To increase learner engagement, it is important that the users understand the benefits of participating in the online learning system. It is a good motivator when the online learning system is seen as one of the pathways towards career advancement. It is helpful to increase learner interactivity during the online learning experience that also conveys the overall theme, mission, and team spirit of the organization.

Useful and effective online learning systems present a personalized experience as a guided effort that includes plenty of learner interactivity. The learning experience should be purposeful, enjoyable, interesting, and definitely not boring.

Online learning systems upgrade a learner’s experience by adding more learner interactivity to increase engagement.


Interactivity, in online learning systems, creates opportunities for user input so that the user gets more involved with the lesson content instead of simply being a passive observer.

The infographic entitled, “10 Ways to Increase Learner Interactivity and Engagement” conveys complex information about this topic in an easy-to-understand way. Using an infographic as a teaching tool is effective. This can be enhanced by adding interactive components to an online infographic such as collecting leads with a form, asking for demographic information, and gaining new insights by using fun-to-take survey questions or simple polls that are associated with the infographic.

Adding short quizzes throughout the online lessons helps reinforce the information being conveyed. Quizzes can show up as an interactive pop-up window in order to attract the learner’s attention. The answers can be taken directly from the lesson materials or, even better, the answers should be able to be inferred as a conclusion/insight from the lesson materials. This helps determine if the learners are absorbing the lessons and are able to make a practical use of what they learn.

If appropriate, the lessons can offer calculation, creative, or estimation tools that show how to use the lesson information in a practical way. Other ways to add interactivity to online lessons include having a live-chat capability. It is a great idea to include podcasts and/ or embedded video links that give the learner a nice audio/visual break from reading the text.

For some online learning systems, it can be effective to use 3-D virtual presentations, panoramic images, and/or interactive photos that allow different views of the photographed item, which can be zoomed in or out and/or rotated.

A highly-effective presentation tool is a 3-D animation. The learners can view the materials from various angles as well as zoom in or out in order to gain more understanding. This type of interactive 3-D animation is very engaging.

Interactive engagement can also be achieved by asking learners in the online system to use what they learn in ways that require unique thought. The goal is not to achieve simple, rote memorization of data. Instead, the goal is to teach the learners how to make use of the information presented to them and to help them be able to apply it to solve real-world problems.

Game Theory

Game theory is useful when designing online lessons. Researchers discovered that learning is enhanced by increasing the “fun” that the learners experience while working with the online learning systems. The same techniques used to make video games addictive can be applied to make interactive learning more compelling.

Game theory is based on the premise that everyone likes a pattern of response/correct action followed by a reward. The rewards can be virtual and symbolic such as advancing to the next learning level by collecting virtual tokens, points, or digital images of trophies.

As an alternative, the rewards can be real by having those who earn good scores in the online learning system receive actual prizes in the real world. These rewards can be a company coffee mug, a t-shirt, or another physical item. Users that successfully complete online learning modules can show off their prize(s) to demonstrate their advancement in learning the material, which encourages others in the organization to do the same.

Human beings are social creatures. Allowing them to share their personal accomplishments with other people in the same organization creates a positive reinforcement feedback-loop. When set up properly, this type of system has a tendency to improve the overall performance of the entire organization. It is best to avoid overt competition between employees and instead reward advancements that can be made by everyone at their own pace as they go through the learning modules.


Using the principles of game theory along with interactive engagement techniques enhances the benefits of a well-designed online educational system.

Contact our team today to learn more about the different ways to increase the engagement and interactivity in your online learning solutions!