Interactivity affects how we process information and it can be a valuable asset in how we record information. It helps to bring out the most important information.

SEE ONE – KNOWLEDGE ABOUT INTERACTIVE MATERIALS (WHAT) What is interaction and  interactivity? Self-tests You will know what is interactivity.
SEE ONE – REASON TO DO INTERACTIVE MATERIALS (WHY) Benefits for using interactive materials in teaching Self-tests, reflecting question You will know how interactive content contributes to learning.

Benefits for using interactive materials in teaching

Interaction is like effective instruction which enables learners to get feedback (Wagner, 1994). Liu and Shrum study (as cited in Pilt, Tartes and Marandi, 2014) found that Interactivity creates cognitively involving experience which direct result is better learning. The interaction between the learner and the content makes possible to change the perceptions, perspectives and / or cognitive structures of the learner (Gunawardena, Zittle, 1996).

Several studies (e.g Evans & Sabry, 2003; Wei et al, 2015) have found that more interactivity facilitates deep learning (understanding) by actively engaging the learner in the learning process and have influences on students' online learning performance.

The enhanced interaction between learner and teacher improves learners' learning outcomes and attitudes towards learning. Providing feedback and testing new knowledge is the most valuable part of communication between learner and teacher (Moore, 1989). Allen study (as cited in Pilt, Tartes and Marandi, 2014) found that interactivity allows students to direct their learning process, activates the student and enhances their motivation.

A student using digital learning material can choose different ways to acquire material. By self-studying the material, the learner can give feedback on his activities and self-control his knowledge. The interactive activities and tasks used in the digital learning material help the learner to better acquire the material (for example self-control tests and thinking questions with automatic feedback, learner-led animations, simulations, etc.). (Aluoja et al, 2015)

The interactive elements of high quality digital learning materials are user-friendly and functional both in instructional and technical design. User interface have to guide the learner how to act. Feedback provided by interactive elements must be clear and unambiguous. Interactivity must be based on a well-understood instructional design - for example, navigational opportunities support the alternative didactically considered learning paths, the feedback provided by the teaching material supports the learner's reflection, etc. (Aluoja et al, 2015)

Main foundings of Xua and Sundarb (2016) research were:

  1. Higher interactivity enhances recognition as well as recall memory of interactive content, but diminishes recognition and recall memory of non-interactive content.;
  2. Individuals spend the least amount of time on the interface with high interactivity, while most of this time is spent on interactive part rather than non-interactive part of the interface;
  3. A moderate level of interactivity attracts most user attention to product information.

Interactive materials improve exam scores

Edgcomb and Vahid (2014) study compares the lesson effectiveness of electronic textbooks having static content, versus interactive webnative content. 136 participants in an Introduction to Programming course were given a pre-lesson quiz and a post-lesson quiz. Participants assigned the interactive web-native content got significantly better scores both in pre-lesson and post-lesson quiz in comparison with the static web content. Participants chose to spend more time with the interactive web-native content than the static web content plus tool.

Edgcomb et al (2015) conducted a study to determine whether introducing an interactive textbook into introductory STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) courses can improve student grades. An interactive textbook has substantially less text than a traditional textbook, instead having numerous embedded question sets designed for learning and not quizzing, numerous animations of key concepts, and some built-in tools. This study found that course grades improved by 0.28 points on a 0-4 point scale, or 1/4 letter grade, from static to interactive textbook. More importantly, students in the lower quartile of the course improved by 0.38 points, or 1/3 letter grade. Exam scores improved by 13.6% from static to interactive textbooks. 98% of the students subscribed to the interactive textbook and completed at least some activities on the interactive textbook. The average student completed 87% of the assigned activities in the interactive textbook.

Composed by Piret Luik and Lehti Pilt

Exercise. Please remember the possible benefits of using interactive content. Choose the right statements.


Review how interactivity contributes to learning?


Please think about the subject you teach. Is it possible to use interactive content in your subject?