How Interactivity Promotes Education Research Paper


Interactivity for Education Introduction

Interactivity in the classroom refers to a hands-on approach to education that facilitates active learning (Park, 2015). Active learning has been shown to strengthen students’ ability to acquire knowledge over time—more so than passive learning (Dobbs, 2011). Through interaction, which may occur with our without technology, students obtain a deeper understanding of lessons, retain information more effectively, and are able to better build on prior knowledge. Interactivity has been shown to be a productive method for teachers seeking to support student learning with applications that get students involved and engaged with the material in a meaningful way.


This paper will show why interactivity for education is a beneficial method that educators can utilize to increase student performance, knowledge acquisition and academic success throughout a range of teaching environments, age levels, and disciplines.

Literature Review

Interactivity for education can be a boon at any level from primary education to higher education and across multiple disciplines (Guzman, Costa-Castello, Dormido & Berenguel, 2016). It has applicability in both traditional classroom learning and online learning. It is especially helpful for students because it encourages engagement and fosters direct interaction with course material and a commitment to personally taking responsibility for digesting the information presented to one. When interactivity is required of a student, there is a demand on the student’s part to respond in a personal way to what is presented.

Online Learning

Interactivity promotes student participation, especially in online learning where it can be difficult for teachers to assess student engagement (Park, 2015). However, as Park (2015) shows, there is a need for teachers and moderators to assist student learning in interactive terms in order to promote the acquisition of knowledge in online formats. In other words, the online format itself is not enough for students to be engaged: they require some direction, some coordinated exposure to content, and some method of engaging with the content that facilitates interactivity with their peers. Providing feedback in the form of peer responses and reviews is one recommended method that Park (2015) recommends implementing.

Huss, Sela and Eastep (2015) explore some of the barriers to interactivity in the online learning community: they show that teachers have demonstrated a “need to establish quality interactions throughout their distance courses” but have also “acknowledged barriers they perceive in attaining desired levels of human relationship” (p. 4). The barriers to attaining the desired levels of human interaction are, for example, time and space related primarily—but the nature of the medium of online learning is such that there is little an educator can do about overcoming these obstacles within the educational framework presented by distance learning courses. In spite of these obstacles, interactivity can be achieved, but in a limited degree—particularly because student interaction with teachers and other students is limited in terms of actual one-to-one time, face-to-face meetings, and time scheduling.

In spite of these barriers to developing interactivity in online learning, the need for it, as noted among educators, has been met with the development of some successful strategies. Huss et al. (2015) note that the keys to developing a strategy for interactivity...


4). Collaboration facilitates interactivity by bringing people together to share ideas and communicate their experiences. Caring provides the impetus for interaction. And context provides the framework or guide for how students can interact.
The findings of Huss et al. (2015) are corroborated by Kent, Laslo and Rafaeli (2016) who demonstrate in their assessment of interactivity in online learning that the network is a major component to successful interactive engagement: “it is the network of interactions among content items and participants which drives a collective knowledge construction process” (p. 116). In other words, the network of exchange itself is what helps to facilitate the interactive process and foster engagement and relationship building among students. By linking content to relational interactivity, feedback distribution, and knowledge construction among the collective of students, educators can use the online platform as an instrument to overcome the inherent barriers within the medium. The obstacles that online learning naturally presents can become opportunities for enlarging and enhancing interactivity. For example, online discussions in which students and teachers engage with learning content, communicate via chat rooms or video, and share information in portals, direct messaging, and student-driven response papers are positive ways to facilitate interactivity (Kent et al., 2016).

The benefits of interactivity in online learning have been measured as well and have been shown in student performance assessments (Kent et al., 2016). Positive correlation has been identified between “various interactivity measures, taken from various learning communities, and a set of well-known learning assessment” (Kent et al., 2016, p. 116). Wei, Peng and Chou (2015) also provide evidence that interactivity in online learning promotes student acquisition of knowledge as measured by scores given in online discussions, exams, and group projects. Additionally, students themselves have indicated that they benefit from interactivity: “students’ self-reported use of interactive functions, students’ perceptions of the usefulness of interactive functions, and students’ actual-use logs” all indicate that their online learning performance is positively impacted by interactivity (Wei et al., 2015, p. 10).

Other means of measuring performance include actual-use logs, which refer to the number of occasions that students actually log in to an online course, the number of times that students examine or read their online learning materials, the number of times that students post in discussion threads in their online portals, and the number of times that students log in to examine their syllabus (Wei et al., 2015). Each of these interactive methods assists online and distance learning students in engaging more deeply with the material in an active learning method.

Interactivity in online learning is a helpful method of instruction, as it serves to group students together in ways that they would otherwise not be able to achieve. By not actually being in direct contact with one another, the interactivity is limited, but still highly effective in terms of allowing at least some communication and interaction to stimulate the engagement of the student.

The Traditional Classroom

Interactivity can also be used effectively in the traditional classroom setting…

Sources Used in Documents:


Dobbs, D. (2011). Beautiful brains. National Geographic, 220(4), 36-59.

Guzman, J. L., Costa-Castello, R., Dormido, S., & Berenguel, M. (2016). An

interactivity-based methodology to support control education: How to teach and learn using simple interactive tools [lecture notes]. IEEE Control Systems, 36(1), 63-76.

Huo, X. (2016). Research on the Man-machine Interactive Environment VR and the

Applications on Vocational Education and Training under the Perspective of Interactivity. DEStech Transactions on Social Science, Education and Human Science, (isetem).

Huss, J. A., Sela, O., & Eastep, S. (2015). A Case Study of Online Instructors and Their

Quest for Greater Interactivity in Their Courses: Overcoming the Distance in Distance Education. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 40(4), n4.

Keengwe, J., & Hussein, F. (2014). Using computer-assisted instruction to enhance

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