Online schooling may seem like a relatively new idea, but its origins stem from the mid-19th century in the United States. There was no Zoom or Google Classroom in those days, of course… but there were still students that needed to be able to take classes at a long distance and asynchronously. This was achieved by the use of the postal service system at first and it was later integrated into the web, as the US and the rest of the world started rapidly adapting all their systems to the internet. With this growth of the web, supporters of education decided to join in and started creating applications and web features that would later be used as tools to further students' engagement in class. This is what we know today as interactive learning.

So what exactly is interactive learning?

At its core, interactive learning is any kind of learning that allows students to actively engage with classroom content beyond passive absorption and mere listening. This can be achieved both in in-person classes as well as online classes depending on the features that one is working with.

For the most part, interactive learning involves the use of social networks as well as computational technology and other external tools to design course material and the overall learning experience. The aim of all this is to allow students to connect with the content at a deeper level.

This is possible because most students will readily remember visual representations of concepts more than plain white chalk writings on a blackboard. This article from shiftelearning.com expounds on the idea that

our brains are designed to store visual cues much more easily in the long-term memory as compared to other means of learning.

This means that working with say, animated presentations will prove more efficient because 65 percent of the world’s population is made up of visual learners i.e people who learn faster and better through visual input. Furthermore, it is known that graphic organization can help students in areas such as retention, reading comprehension, student achievement, and critical thinking skills. This means that teachers can also use tools like game-based learning to quiz students on basic concepts that they have learnt in class. Kahoot and Quizizz are also great resources on making simple quizzes and interactive questions. Overall, these measures will help make the material less daunting for the students and much easier to understand and retrieve when needed.

If it is so good, then why isn't everyone using it?

Clearly, interactive learning is a very beneficial way of imparting knowledge in school kids. However, this is not common practice. And of course, there are barriers such as financial instability as well as little spread of the needed technology in some parts of the world i.e. some people would want to have their students enjoy the benefits of interactive learning, but they simply do not have the means to. And that’s understandable. But what about places that can afford these resources? What is stopping them?

The thing is, even in areas with relatively good economies and well-advanced technology systems, teachers are still choosing to use traditional methods to teach, hence interactive learning is still being ignored. Why is this so? There are many potential reasons, the first being a fear of change. This is innately in almost all human beings. While some of us tend to take risks and jump at every opportunity to try something new, the rest are much more reluctant to switch from this way of life that they have been used to, especially because it works well. The second potential reason could be that people still don’t understand the significance of optimizing students’ learning environments. In other words, critics could ask, “Does it matter whether students learn through whiteboards and markers or through Google slides and PowerPoint presentations?”,  “Isn’t the point that they get the knowledge and are able to use it in the future?”, or “Does it even make a difference?”.  Indeed, it does…

So how is interactive learning so different?

Firstly, interactive learning saves a lot of time. An article from senseselec.com explains that through in-built systems such as assignment submission portals, teachers and students are both able to save a lot of time that would have otherwise been spent in very minute details that online tools can take care of. Also, conventional methods become more time-consuming as class size increases. A good demonstration of this would be, if a class has say, 100 students... by using a multiple choice quiz from Google forms, all students could get their results by the end of the quiz session, while traditionally... they would have to wait for a couple more days till the teacher is done marking and distributing all scores. Now, what if the class has 200 students? 300 students? It becomes harder and harder to successfully manage all aspects of the course. Which is why more and more educational institutions should open up channels for teachers and faculty to adapt interactive learning as part of their teaching methods.

How is Edvora aiming to help?

At Edvora, we work every single day to make this realization possible and easy for you to access. We understand the value of being able to integrate these tools in the classroom. They not only increase classroom productivity and participation - which has been shown to increase students’ performance time after time - but also, they allow students to be able to enjoy the schooling system, which many dread.

If the first 20 years of students' lives are going to be spent mostly in educational institutions, teachers might as well want to make that experience interesting to go through. This is because it is a crucial time in human development and students should not be sent off to a place that they detest. By adding features such as game-based learning in the course material i.e. things that students already enjoy to do, we will not only be furthering the amount of learning that students get done, but also the general enjoyability of going through the schooling system. So, reach out to us at [email protected] and tell us about your experiences!