Interactive videos are more engaging—and more likely to stick with learners—than videos that they watch passively. It’s easy to add interactivity into videos quickly and inexpensively. In fact, your favorite authoring tool might already support some of these features:
- Attention and knowledge checks—Perhaps the most basic use of interactive video is an attention check. Pausing to ask viewers to do something before the video continues can offer a measure of assurance that the learner is paying attention.
The next level of interactivity checks retention or comprehension of material. In this case, just acknowledging that they are still watching is not enough; learners have to answer one or more questions on the material before continuing to view the video. This can be a short quiz or a single question; the learner might be asked to answer a multiple-choice question, fill in blanks, or type in a short response. Some authoring tools will collect the responses and record them as xAPI statements that managers can use to check learners’ progress. Asking questions and collecting data on learners’ responses also helps instructors improve the video content.
“You can improve the end-user experience by offering the quiz within the video or establishing progress checks in which the user needs to pay attention to the video in order to advance to the next lesson,” said Travis O’Connor, HapYak Interactive Video’s senior director of revenue.
- Divide the video into chapters—Breaking a video into chapters or sections, with the possibility of jumping to relevant sections or going back to review sections, can greatly improve the learner experience. “One way to increase engagement on a video is via chapters,” O’Connor said in an email interview. “With chapters, the benefit is twofold. For the user, they have a clear understanding of what the video is about; and it allows people to learn at their own pace, which improves engagement.”
- Create branching scenarios—An interactive video can feature branching scenarios or layered content sections. As a story unfolds on the video, draw learners in by pausing to pose a question. It can be as simple as “What would you do?” This mechanism is also useful for allowing learners to choose the content that is most relevant to them. Menu options can range from “Review basic terms and concepts” to “Watch a demonstration of the procedure.” Buttons or hotspots can link learners to the section of the video that covers their selected response. Allowing learners to back up and try multiple options or view multiple content sections is helpful and can ensure more thorough learning.
- Add interactive graphics or annotations—Add layers of information to images or graphics with annotations. These can be links or hotspots that add an overlay with more information—textual or graphical—or take learners to additional required or supplementary information. The interactive hotspots can also pop up questions that prompt learners to supply information. Ask learners to label a diagram of a tool they’ve been learning about, for example, or to fill in details of a map or chart on topics covered earlier in the video.
- Provide readings, forms, and resources—Short videos are great for providing an overview or review, but some learners will need more detail. Interactive video comes to the rescue again: Link resources, including downloadable documents, to the video. Learners can pause, view the links or download the documents, then continue watching.
One key reason that eLearning designers and developers seek to add interactive elements to eLearning, including video, is to improve learners’ focus and engagement. But it’s beneficial to instructors and managers as well, through better measurement of learner participation and performance. “For the instructor, having metrics around what parts of your video are successful and what people are ‘actively ignoring’ allows you to better tailor content in the future,” O’Connor said. “When armed with behavior analytics around how your video is performing, both the instructor and the student benefit.”
Some authoring tools support adding interactivity to video or adding overlays. Tools that are specifically designed to add interactivity are an option for those who already have videos or create their own videos.
HapYak takes a “BYOV—Bring Your Own Video” approach, according to O’Connor. “Our technology sits on top of the video, allowing you to use your YouTube, Vimeo, Brightcove, Kaltura, etc. videos, add interactive elements onto the video experience, and then seamlessly publish them to the LMS or website,” he said. Additional integration allows instructors to create interactive videos and have student responses and other data “pushed into the gradebook.”
In addition to LTI (learning tools interoperability) integration and support for xAPI statements, “we can push the data in various formats such as a comma-separated file or JSON object,” O’Connor said. “So, depending on how the data needs to be transmitted, there are several ways to capture those analytics.”
Be sure to follow Anthony Altieri’s articles on writing xAPI statements. To date, Altieri has written: