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ATD Blog

How Increased E-Learning Interactivity Can Elevate Your Team's Performance

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

It’s an exciting time to be in the learning and development profession. As new technologies emerge and insights into brain science unfold, your tools as a trainer are more sophisticated and your role in supporting learning is more complex than ever.

According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD) report, Playing to Win: Gamification and Serious Games in Organizational Learning, approximately one quarter of the 551 survey respondents incorporate a high-level of e-learning interactivity, with 25 percent using gamification in their training courses and 20 percent applying serious games. Nearly half of survey respondents (46 percent) reported that they are considering such use in the coming year.

Levels of E-Learning Interactivity

Gamification and serious games are both examples of Levels 3 and 4 e-learning course interaction. Training using Level 3 interaction is highly complex and customizable, and the learner has a great deal of control. At Level 4, the learner is fully immersed in her learning experience. Such interactive course elements are on the rise, according to this research, particularly for employee training, new employee onboarding, and high-potential employee development programs.

At a high level of interactivity, the goal for course design is not to merely impress learners with the bells and whistles of training design—although serious games and gamification are excellent tools to increase participant engagement—but to enhance understanding, impart knowledge, conceptualize ideas, apply training, and allow for reflection.

Take Bloom’s Taxonomy, a theory that’s been guiding our practice since its establishment 60 years ago. The taxonomy’s six levels (or orders) within the cognitive domain encompass the simple recall of facts (Level 1) to evaluation of newly learned material (Level 6). For learners to effectively move up the chain of orders from memorization to application and analysis, and eventually evaluation, e-learning interactivity must be laser focused on training outcomes. Each video, game, simulation, multimedia, and other interactive element incorporated within your course design must be aligned with such strategic goals.


In our practice at Cynuria Consulting, we've concluded that highly interactive e-learning courses share the following best practices:

  • Apply real-life scenarios to encourage the learner to think and evaluate the outcomes based on decisions she needs to make in the moment.
  • Allow for the learner to explore, search, or investigate to accomplish learning goals.
  • Supply sufficiently challenging and relevant activities that will have the learner reflect, process the information, and transfer learning to his long-term memory.


From Best Practice to Applied Practice

This year, Cynuria is working with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), a nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety for all 50 states and the U.S. territories. We developed specific criteria with the goal of elevating course interactivity to 50 percent at levels 3 and 4.

“Serious game use in the learning and development sphere aims to expose learners to new experiences and skills through simulations built around stories, goals, feedback, and play,” cites the ATD research report.

NASBLA represents the quarter of organizations that stand on the leading edge of e-learning by adopting cutting-edge training design and delivery methods. With the ultimate goal of boater safety in mind, NASBLA understands that creating highly interactive boater training will better engage learners and move them to advanced levels of learning evaluation and application. We are excited about our work with NASBLA and other organizations that are committed to reimagining the possibilities of their e-learning courses.

To learn more, check out Cynuria Consulting at the 2019 ATD Government Workforce: Learning Innovations Training Summit.

About the Author

Houri Tamizifar is the president and CEO of Cynuria Consulting (, an award-winning human capital and learning solutions consulting firm that prides itself on strengthening government agencies such as U.S. Department of Labor, Federal Judicial Center, and U.S. House of Representatives, among others. Prior to founding Cynuria Consulting in 2016, Houri implemented one of a kind learning solutions for clients such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) while working at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Houri earned her Bachelor Degree at the University of Maryland majoring in Spanish with a minor in Business Management. She is deeply committed to lifelong education, earning her Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model Certification, Master's degree in Adult Education and Training, and a certification in Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP).

Houri's ongoing commitment to pro-bono service has been unwavering throughout the years and noted most recently through her involvement with SHRM, Women of Color Conference, the Black Engineers STEM Conference, and the Maryland Women's Business Center.

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