Breaking the Monotony: Creative Interactives to Increase Student Engagement

Online learning has grown tremendously in the last few years, but it was on the upswing before the recent pandemic forced many into homeschooling. Now, online higher education institutions have around 2.79 million students enrolled in their programs. And these courses are a fundamental part of traditional colleges and universities as well. In 2021, approximately 60% of all students in postsecondary programs took some online courses.

Retention is an issue with online learning. These courses have a 10 to 20% lower retention rate than courses taught in a physical classroom. Experts believe that this issue is linked to lesser student engagement with online material. It is true that some e-courses are not designed to foster the connection between the student and the instructor or the student and other students. But this problem can often be solved by using creative interactives within the course material.


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Incorporating Interactives

Course designers may think interactive components are difficult to create, but that is not the case. With a software program like SoftChalk, they can easily embed puzzles, quizzes, group activities, etc. that appeal to higher ed learners.

Accordion Activity

This feature allows learners to click on various parts of an image to get more information. For instance, clicking on a human cell nucleus can trigger a list of facts you want your students to know. This function works for most academic disciplines including grammar, history, anatomy, and foreign languages.

Memory Activity

This SoftChalk activity helps learners to memorize important course concepts and vocabulary. Students are tasked with finding correct matches by flipping over virtual cards two at a time, an activity that keeps their interest and helps them retain information.

Interactive Quizzes

Quizzes are necessary for students and faculty to gauge course progress. With this easy-to-use software, you can create automatically scored quizzes, including matching, multiple choice, ordering, and short answer types.

Other SoftChalk Interactives

You can incorporate around 30 interactives with SoftChalk’s software, including:

  • Image maps
  • Slideshows
  • Timelines
  • Flashcards
  • Labeling
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Pairs
  • Seek A Word
  • Connections
  • Blockquotes

Embedding these activities in the coursework keeps the student engaged with the material while reinforcing important concepts. Monotony kills educational progress. A well-designed course improves student retention.

Reaching All Learning Styles

Educators know that students have various learning styles. Educational specialists recognize four main types:

  • Visual Learners:  These students prefer to learn by observation. They enjoy diagrams, pictures, and even written instructions. SoftChalk’s interactives give you multiple ways to engage this group.
  • Auditory Learners: Some people learn best when course concepts are presented with sound. That means that your online course should not be simply visual but include videos with audio. You can either embed videos or provide links to outside sources to help these students engage.
  • Kinesthetic Learners: These students learn through physical activity. They need to touch and move to understand concepts. Interactives such as drag and drop, click and label, and seek-a-word can be invaluable to their learning experience.
  • Reading/Writing Learners: These learners can thrive in most environments since they learn through reading and writing. Interactive course elements can deepen their engagement; however, and make their learning experience more enjoyable and successful.

In many instances, a well-designed online course can best meet the needs of various learning types. Softchalk software lets you create courses designed to reach all of your students in an engaging and productive way.

Online Learning Disadvantages

Sadly, not everyone is a fan of online courses. Common complaints about e-learning include:

  • Lack of face-to-face interaction
  • Social isolation
  • Limited feedback
  • Greater self-disciplinerequirements
  • Technically challenged instructors

SoftChalk addresses these issues by producing superior course design that makes giving feedback fast and easy. The interactives make students feel more engaged and encourage them to finish their work. Instructors and course designers do not need to be tech wizards to put together an effective and dependable course since Softchalk requires no coding.  And you can include group activities to eliminate the feeling of isolation that some learners experience.

Final Thoughts

Students of all ages, backgrounds, and learning types can benefit from course interactive features. Students will not stay engaged with the material if all they do is read and answer a few questions. For some students, the monotony of poorly designed material is too much, and they drop out of the course.

The challenge is to create an online course that fosters a sense of excitement and belonging: One that teaches key concepts in a way that retains learners’ attention. SoftChalk helps you meet these vital goals.

To learn more about how SoftChalk can benefit your higher-education institution, request a free trial by filling out our brief online form. You can also call 1-877-638-2425 or email us at Our experienced team can help you implement our advanced course authoring software.

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