Engage your Learners with Interactive Video

“In addition to enhancing learning, video can also reduce training time. It’s easier and takes less time to watch a well-made video than it does to read through pages of dense text or complicated diagrams to grasp a concept.”

Andy Cole (Via Brainshark; originally included in The Benefits of Video in eLearning)

Mobile Video
Via Pexels.

In my last post, we explored some benefits of using scenarios in eLearning. Today, we will examine the value of learning with interactive videos using PlayPosit. If you’re not familiar with PlayPosit, it’s an online environment used to create and share interactive video lessons.

PlayPosit Logo
via PlayPosit.

According to Raptivity (2015), interaction occurs in an interactive video when “the learner is shown a video that pauses at set intervals to reveal either additional information or questions to test knowledge. It actively involves learners during a video and gives them feedback whenever required.”

Our team had the opportunity to create an interactive video for an eLearning module we developed for a presentation at the 2017 Michigan OER Summit. Our module used open educational resources (OER) to help learners discover the importance of APA style and how to apply it to their writing.

We used PlayPosit to build an interactive video. A library had shared the original video about APA Style under a Creative Commons (CC) License. The content was fantastic and covered the criteria that we planned to examine in our module. As a result, we were able to create the questions that we wanted to infuse in the PlayPosit to test learner’s knowledge.

Screenshot of one of our interactive questions created with PlayPosit.

After the video showed pertinent information about APA, the video prompted learners to pause and answer a question to test their knowledge.

Interactive Video and Learning Theory

Interactive video learning is anchored in two learning theories: Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and vicarious learning. SCT is the foundation of interactive video learning and the basis of situated learning, which is where scenario based learning comes from. Vicarious learning means we observe a skill or watch information and then we have a chance to test our knowledge or apply the skill that we’ve learned.

As professionals committed to helping others learn, we want our learners to feel engaged with the content presented to them. We hope that learners will discover the need, value, and relevance of what they learn and then apply it to their lives.

These ideas are the focus of Malcolm Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory, which we applied in the eLearning example about interactive video. The following andragogic principles are also present in our example:

  • Learners have the opportunity to absorb information in the context of figuring out a problem.
  • Learners are immersed in activities that enable them to tie the subject matter to the application.

The benefits to using interactive video for learning, especially in higher education, include:

  • It facilitates active learning.
  • It engages by grabbing and retaining the learner’s attention.
  • It more clearly displays complex subject matter.
  • It supplies learners with immediate feedback.
  • It easily presents simulations.
  • It’s easier for learners to identify and discuss gaps/problems with peers.

Based on these advantages, it’s clearly valuable to use interactive video for learning.

Interactive Video Using PlayPosit

As an educator, you can sign up and take advantage of PlayPosit’s free options including Multiple Choice and Pause and Play. Here are a few ways that you can get started with interactive videos for learning:

  • Turn an existing static PowerPoint into an engaging narration. The narration can then be turned into an interactive video.
  • Search the Public Domain and OER repositories for content your learners need to know. Look for content with a CCO license, which allows you to modify the content.

PlayPosit is a great tool for creating your first interactive video. Why not give it a try?

Are you a learning theory addict? Do you use interactive videos in your eLearning? Have you ever used PlayPosit to engage your learners? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.


Cournoyer, B. (2017). 12 quotes on why video works for eLearning. Brainshark.

Creative Commons. (2017). “No Rights Reserved”. [online] Available at: https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/

Culatta, R. (2015). Situated Learning (J. Lave). Instructional Design.org

PlayPosit. (2017). highered. [online] Available at: https://www.playposit.com/learn/highered

Learning by watching: Social cognitive theory and vicarious learning. (2015). [Blog] Origin Learning. Available at: http://www.elearninglearning.com/learning-theory/interactive/?open-article-id=3359362&article-title=learning-by-watching–social-cognitive-theory-and-vicarious-learning&blog-domain=originlearning.com&blog-title=origin-learning

Pappas, C. (2017). The Adult Learning Theory – Andragogy – of Malcolm Knowles. [online] eLearning Industry. Available at: https://elearningindustry.com/the-adult-learning-theory-andragogy-of-malcolm-knowles

What is OER? (2017). [Blog] Education Week. Available at: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/03/29/what-is-oer-5-questions-about-open-oer.html

Get students fired up with scenario-based eLearning

Robert H Schuller Quote-800

Want to get students fired up about learning? Then present a problem and ask them for a solution. Scenario-based instruction will grab your student’s attention and keep them engaged in the learning experience. In this post, I will give some definitions of scenario-based learning, identify some of the benefits it offers, and explain when to use it in your online course.

What is it?

According to Clark and Mayer (2012), scenario-based eLearning is

“an instructional environment in which the learner assumes a role to make decisions or take actions to resolve a work-related situation.”

Rooted in situated learning theory (Lave & Wenger, 1991), participants use critical thinking to solve a real-world problem. This leads to “knowledge activation.”

Seker (2016) validates scenario-based instruction design as a tool to promote self-regulated language learning strategies:

“…they provide situated learning driven from the relevant problems to the context of learners (Brock, 2003; Naidu, 2010; Parrish, 2004).”

What are the benefits?

  • Learners must engage!
  • Learning becomes concrete as students face real-life problems.
  • Learners must apply existing knowledge to a problem.
  • Learners must assess the problem, develop a solution, and know why they came to the decision.

As students explore new information and topics in a real-world situation, they must demonstrate critical thinking skills and the application of knowledge to complete the scenario-based eLearning activity (Kelly, 2015).

When should I use it?

Well, what do you want your students to learn? Your answer to this question should help you identify when scenario-based learning is right for your course.

In the discussion forum of the online course that I teach, I use scenario prompts. Students are asked to put themselves into the shoes of historical actors in order to understand the challenges that those people faced in their time. This helps them understand why decisions were made. In these discussion forums, students must consider what they know as well as the varying perspectives of their peers in order to arrive at a conclusion.

Try it out!

The scenario example below was built in PowerPoint—a tool that everyone is familiar with! The Branched Scenario Template was a free download from eLearning Heroes. I used the 3 C Model of Scenario Building (Kuhlmann, 2017) to identify the problem and solution as well as the consequences of the scenario.

In the scenario, Scott Fillmore, an employee of Seeking a Change, LLC, is faced with a customer service complaint. To select the best response to the problem, the learner must apply conflict management skills that were acquired in a recent company training module. Complete the scenario yourself by opening this link to the PowerPoint file.

Scenario 1 Dissatisfied With Customer Service

How did you do? In the future, I would like to explore using this type of activity to create what Cathy Moore calls memorable mini-scenarios to add further value for learners. I hope this quick-and-easy scenario-based eLearning activity inspires you to create your own!


Clark, R. C., and Mayer R. E. Scenario-Based e-Learning, Center for Creative Leadership, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central. Created from springarboruniv-ebooks on 2017-06-19 14:23:46.

Culatta, R. (2015). Conditions of Learning (Robert Gagne). Instructional Design.org

Culatta, R. (2015). Situated  Learning (J. Lave). Instructional Design.org

Kelly, R. (2015, September 24). Scenario-based learning in the online classroom. Retrieved June 23, 2017, from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/scenario-based-learning-in-the-online-classroom/

Cathy Moore. (2011, October 12). How to create a memorable mini-scenario [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://blog.cathy-moore.com/2011/10/how-to-create-a-memorable-mini-scenario/

Seker, M (2016). Scenario-based instruction design as a tool to promote self-regulated language learning strategies. Sage Open.