July 31, 2023

If we want workplace education to create impact, it must be memorable, engaging and applicable to real life. That’s the clear goal, but getting there can be tricky, especially on a large scale, which often means relying on asynchronous online training options.

In this article, I will explore interactive learning and development as it relates to online training, what it means, how to achieve it and why it’s so important. We’ll take a close look at the practical nature of interactive learning, discuss what makes it a critical aspect of employee training and how it can be part of creating transformative change.

What makes interactive online learning work?

First, let’s look at what defines interactive online learning and what makes it different from other types of learning.

Consider this comparison: In more passive online learning, a participant will learn primarily by listening, watching and observing. Conversely, in an interactive model, the participant will be expected to engage with a story or situation by being asked to make choices that will show potential consequences.

For instance, if a person is learning about their role in preventing workplace harassment, a passive model may run through some scenarios and offer lecture points on what not to do. In an interactive model, the learning will also show a scenario, but what follows is quite different. Beyond simply being told or shown what not to do, the participants may be prompted to make choices, and then would discover how that choice impacted a certain outcome. This puts the learner in the position of needing to think through how they might approach a similar situation in real-life. 

Here are some of the elements that, when combined, make interactive learning especially effective:

  • Interactive elements — Throughout the learning experience, the participant selects from different options before going further. The options are then interpreted for the learner. This enables them to get insights into what each choice might mean—and empower them to learn from their decision making. And with interactive learning there’s an opportunity to go beyond simply right and wrong. For particularly complex topics, it offers the chance to explore gray areas that can help deepen a person’s understanding of the subject matter, as well as constructive reasoning behind their own choices.
  • Storytelling — The inclusion of storytelling is part of engaging participants in a personal way. As humans, we’re wired to tune into storytelling as a way of immersing ourselves into someone else’s life. We do it as part of our entertainment, but it’s also a critical part of interactive learning. It is one of the factors that makes learning particularly vivid and memorable.
  • Practical and relatable scenarios — Rounding out the complement of interactive elements and storytelling are relatable scenarios, such as video-based scenes, especially if they are presented in a way that relates to practical, real-life situations. But rather than passive observing, to be effective there must be an interplay between the interactive elements that make it an experiential simulated experience. 
  • A safe space for learning — For interactive learning to happen effectively, it needs to be delivered in a way that the participants will feel comfortable. Putting them in a position where they might feel pressured or embarrassed will run counter to the impact you are trying to create. Ideally, they will have the flexibility to take the training wherever they want, making them relaxed and open to learning.
  • Opportunities for reflection — Interactive learning has its most powerful effect when participants have the time and space, they need to be able to reflect on what they learned. Reflection solidifies learning, opens the door to self-discovery and helps to draw a connection from what they learned to how it applies to daily life experiences. 
  • Communication and feedback — Ensure that participants have the ability to share their thoughts, concerns and ideas about what they learned. Enable them to talk about what they discovered and what it means to them. Take that feedback to help adjust and improve the learning experience.

Traliant Resources 

For more information on Traliant’s Interactive training click here



Veronica Bocian