Technology is constantly evolving. Every day, we turn on the tv, radio, or log on to the internet and hear or read about something new that promises to make our lives easier, more efficient, and more focused. From the typewriter to the iPad, all the manufacturers of these new and improved devices have all harped on one idea, the idea of interactivity.
The idea of interactivity has been consistently debated since the introduction of the first computer. With computers, interactivity is thrown into the center ring as a means of achieving higher level thinking, improving and reinventing the cognitive and developmental processes that we use in our everyday life, from our jobs to our education. The introduction of the worldwide web and the internet have made interactivity even more relevant in today’s society. From schools to corporate offices, computers and the web have given us the ability to make training interactive, and therefore, more effective. In order to really understand the idea of interactivity, we need to define it. For the use of this proposal, we will define interactivity as “functions and/or operations made available to the learning to enable them to work with content material presented in a computer based environment” (Sims, 2000, p. 46).
A study conducted by Sims (2000) directly addressed the role interactivity plays in a computer-based setting. Sims’ study looked at multiple constructs from multiple theories regarding the use of interactivity and its effectiveness in computer-based settings. The different constructs were used to support levels of interactivity used in computer-based settings (Sims, 2000). Sims used four major dimensions of interactive constructs, learners, content, pedagogy and context. These four dimensions provided a guide that showed the main focuses of each construct and the role interactivity played in each dimension (Sims, 2000) Sims concluded that the level, depth of the content provided, and presentation proved to be the biggest factors in telling if the experience was highly interactive. Another factor that was also considered was the type of multimedia used to represent different parts of the content itself (Sims, 2000).
Sims (2000) argued that the key to interactivity in a computer-based setting was to have an ample amount of amount of visual media within the context of what is being taught. This would allow the learner to have a more realistic and concrete experience, making the level of interactivity a key component in the success of the learning.
A study conducted by Evans and Gibbons (2007) directly addressed the effect interactivity had in multimedia learning using a computer-based system in their 2007 study. The study consisted of 33 second year undergraduate learners ages 19-25. The learners were split into two groups consisting of males and females. Two computer-based multimedia modules were created. One module contained interactive features such as picture diagrams, and...