Interactivity on stage: Strategies for learner-designer communication


  • Rod Sims Southern Cross University



The word interactive, when used to described computer based learning resources, has tended to imply better experiences, more active learning, enhanced interest and motivation. But despite the investment in productions to date, this interactive condition has not been consistently realised. Although the surge in internet based communications and collaborative learning activities has extended the opportunities for human-human communication, the complexity of learner-computer interactivity has yet to be fully unravelled.

This paper examines the relationship between the independent learner and computer based learning resources, which continue to be integral to educational delivery, especially in the training sector. To place interactivity in context, the first part of the discussion focuses on the major dimensions of interactivity and the different ways they have been characterised in computer based learning environments. These dimensions demonstrate the many ways that interactivity can be interpreted and the critical role that design and development plays in creating effective interactive encounters. The second part of the paper reviews the way storytelling structures and narrative have been promoted as effective strategies for enhancing comprehension and engagement in computer based learning applications. The way in which the interactivity and narrative are linked becomes critical to achieving this outcome.

Extending the use of a narrative within interactive media to include elements of performance and theatre, the third part of the discussion proposes that by conceptualising the learner as actor, a form of learner-designer communication can be established. Integrating this approach with elements of conversational and communication theory provides a context in which the learner-computer interface is transcended by that of learner and designer. Enabling this form of communication with the independent learner is suggested as a means to enhance computer based learning environments.


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How to Cite

Sims, R. (1999). Interactivity on stage: Strategies for learner-designer communication. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 15(3).