The evolution of distance learning can be described as slow and then fast. Let me explain. Mass distance learning was originally created by the US military during WWII as a way to train large numbers of new soldiers in short amount of time to perform specific tasks using specific procedures. Booklets of text with some images were produced along with educational videos, and thus creating distance learning curriculum. For decades following, distance learning was far and few between and resembled the same style of curriculum. Fast forward to the 2000’s where personal computers and internet access became household items. Distance learning still resembled previous curriculum, where information was “dumped” and students were tested on said dumped information.
The Guide to Interactives Series was created with the purpose to show instructors just how to created a more interactive and engaging distance learning experience. Where students have multiple chances for checking their understanding with no penalty, where immediate feedback can be given, and where students feel the connection between the online course and the 21st century world they live in daily. For best comprehension, and ease of use, this entire series uses one set of tools from collection called H5P. H5P tools are completely free and open technology licensed with the MIT license. Instructors can create a free account, build interactives with their course content, and then embed those interactives into their learning management system (LMS) course using the given embed code.
In part 1 of this 4 part series, 5 multimedia tools are noted and explained. Multimedia tools provide an alternate way for content to be represented to students other than text and images. These particular H5P tools can help your audio and kinesthetic students learn and interact with new content.
1. Interactive Video
What instructor does love a quality educational video to help explain a complex concept? The problem is did the student really understand everything that was presented in the video. Did the student pause and rewind the video when something was confusing? Could the student recall important details from the video? Could the student apply what they’ve just learned from the video? This tool can help you answer “yes” to all of these questions.
The interactive video tool uses pre-created videos from YouTube or your own and inserts interactions within the video. Instructors can insert multiple different types of questions throughout the video. As students watch this interactive video, the video pauses and a question appears for students to select an answer. The correct answer continues the video. An incorrect answer can replay a certain part of the video, or provide text feedback for clarification. The video can even be set to only continue when the student answers correctly.
List of question types that can be added to any video:
2. Speak the Words
The majority of our online students express their understanding of concepts in the from of text: quizzes, discussions, essays, reflections, etc. However, we know preparing our students for future careers includes more than writing skills. This next tool brings a new interactive to the online learning environment. Speak the Words tool uses voice recognition to answer questions. Instructors create a set of questions and students speak the answer. The tool recognizes a correct or incorrect answer and provides immediate feedback. Based on the setting options selected by the instructor, student can see the solution, and try it again. Remember, the purpose of these tools are for student engagement with content, practice of skills, and checking for understanding.
Note: Currently, due to the voice recognition tool, this interactive only functions in the Chrome browser.
3. Twitter User Feed
Academically intriguing conversations are happening all the time. Luckily for us, most of these conversations are happening digitally in real time. How exciting... and relevant... and engaging! The Twitter User Feed tool allows instructors to embed a live twitter feed into their online course. The many options that accompany this tools provide instructors with ultimate control to ensure the twitter feeds coming into their class are on topic, current, and non-disruptive. Instructors are able to select which user feeds are displayed, many tweets are shown at once, and if replies should be hidden.
My teacher heart goes pitter-patter just thinking about the powerful and relevant dialog this content tool can provide in your online course.
4. Audio Recorder
Voices are powerful. They can convey emotions and personality that contribute in creating a well-rounded message. Something that can be lost in writing at times. Your auditory learners may have been looking for a way to express their level of understanding in a way that works best for them. Lucky for them, they have you as an instructor and they have this tool to let them shine. The Audio Recorder tool allows students to record their voice to provide a response. Students can even listen to their recording immediately, then re-record it if needed. Lastly, students can download this audio (.wav) file and save and submit it. This a great tool for open-ended questions or language acquisition.
Note: At this time, this tool works in Edge, Chrome, and Firefox internet browsers.
5. Dialog Cards
The last multimedia tool continues this auditory learning trend. This tool is very similar to digital flashcards, which is a regular study aid of students. However, these digital flashcards can include more than text. These digital flashcards can include images, and audio recordings. Just as regular flashcards, side one has the learning material and side to the answer.
This tool is a great option for students to have all three learning styles (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) in one study aid. Students learning terms in any subject benefit for this low-risk practice with immediate feedback.
When developing or preparing your next online course consider trying out one of these tools to promote student engagement, low-risk practice, and instant feedback for your students. If building these tools and embedding them into your own online course seems like a cumbersome task, I’m here to tell you that’s what instructional designers are for! If you don’t have an instructional designer at your school, no need to fear. I provided individually customized instructional designer services that can fit the comfortability level of any instructor.
Get the free 1-page guide: 5 Multimedia Tools (H5P Guide)
Nicole Mace believes that distance education is a true game changer. She has spent close to a decade in education and spends her free time reading anything she can get her hands on about online learning.
Nicole's Guest Posts