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Nunamaker (1997) describes the interactivity as “the extent to which the user feels convinced of the mutual effect that he or she and the environment have on one another”

Interactivity in on-line environments: To what extent do students engage on-line in rich educative dialogue ?

So far in this article I just copied stuff below - Daniel K. Schneider 23:25, 18 August 2007 (MEST)

Examples of specific interactivity levels

In Game design

“And according to [Nunamaker's definition], the level of interactivity depends on the speed of response, the range of possible players interactions and the mapping of controls. Video Games like Quake or Counterstrike attain a high level of interactivity by providing immediate feedback and pushing input/output devices to their limits. However the interactivity in video games cannot be reduced to user/computer interactions. Indeed, a game-related research, conducted by Manninen (2001) has focused on how the players' teams interact and whether the current video games enable collaborative interactions.” (Nova, 2002)

In multimedia design

According to Schulmeister:

  1. Objekte betrachten und rezipieren, e.g play a movie
  2. Multiple Darstellungen betrachten und rezipieren, e.g. use a menu to look at something differently, e.g. in an other screen.
  3. Die Repräsentationsform variieren, e.g. do some 3D manipulation
  4. Den Inhalt der Komponente modifizieren, e.g. enter some text
  5. Das Objekt bzw den Inhalt der Repräsentation konstruieren; e.g. create an object in a microworld
  6. Den Gegenstand bzw Inhalt der Repräsentation konstruieren und durch manipulierende Handlungen intelligente Rückmeldung vom System erhalten, e.g. see what happens with the above

Schulmeister also summarizes El Saddik who made a scale about visualization methods:

  1. Still images
  2. Animated Pictures
  3. Visualization with display adjustments for play, stop, speed etc.
  4. Visualization selection and arrangement capabilites VCR for repeat, rewind etc.
  5. Visualization with changing input, zooming and panning
  6. Visualization with interactive decision points, e.g. changing data while running
  7. Visualization generated by students (visualization construction kit)

In the IMS/IEE Lom specification

Interactivity Type (IEEE 1484.12.1-2002) for e-learning objects:

  1. active: Active learning (e.g., learning by doing) is supported by content that directly induces productive action by the learner.
  2. expositive: Expositive learning (e.g., passive learning) occurs when the learner's job mainly consists of absorbing the content exposed to them.
  3. mixed: A blend of active and expositive interactivity types.

Cancore adds some recommendations to add interpretation of these. The following table indicates how different resource types might correspond to the recommended vocabulary values. It also shows how these values might relate orthogonally the Active and Expositive values (defined in another LOM section).

  Very Low Low Medium High Very High
Active Test questions formatted for printing Links provided with instructions for their exploration Online multiple-choice exercise providing feedback Dissection simulation with pre- and post-tests 3-D immersive simulation for completing prescribed series of steps
Expositive Essay formatted for printing Video clip with play, pause, and replay controls Hypertext in which readers choose ending Dissection simulation without evaluation components 3-D immersive environment for exploring remote location

See Learning Object Metadata Standard

According to the US department of Defense

“The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) developed definitions for four major levels of eLearning interactivity that can be found in the "Department of Defense Handbook: Development of Interactive Multimedia Instruction (IMI)." The DOD defined these interactivity levels to correspond with various levels of learning (fact, rule, procedure, discrimination, and problem solving), as well as identified the resulting skills expected at the end of the training session. (Entelisys, retrieved 23:25, 18 August 2007 (MEST))”

  1. Level I - Passive: In this level, the learner acts merely as a receiver of information. The learner may read text on the screen as well as view graphics, illustrations and charts. The learner may interact simply by using navigational buttons to move forward or back through the program.
  2. Level II: Limited Interaction - In this second level, the learner makes simple responses to instructional cues. As in Level I, there may be multiple choice exercises, pop-ups, rollovers or simple animations. Level II adds a component of scenario-based multiple choice and column matching related to the text and graphic presentation.
  3. Level III: Complex Interaction - Here, the learner makes multiple, varied responses to cues. In addition to the types of responses in Level II, complex interactions may require text entry boxes and manipulation of graphic objects to test the assessment of the information presented.
  4. Level IV: Real-time Interaction - Real-time interaction creates a training session that involves a life-like set of complex cues and responses in this last level. The learner is engaged in a simulation that exactly mirrors the work situation.

(Entelisys, retrieved 23:25, 18 August 2007 (MEST))

Distance learning interactions

Interactivity according the mediation types (when teleconference interactivity is immediate and when written texts, interactivity is daily)

User participation in user-generated content

Nicola Nova's summary of Xavier Comptesse:

  • Passive consumption: The user is getting products or services with no real interaction and no real choice. He or she has to take whatever is available.
  • Self Service: The user is given the ability to choose between various products or services.
  • DIY: Do It Yourself: The user starts getting involved in the value chain.
  • Co-design: The user starts adding value by customizing the product and therefore defining his or her needs himself (as opposed to buying a product defined by the product management team).
  • Co-creation: The user is involved in the design of the product or service itself.

User interaction in CSCL environments

Ploetzner, Dillenbourg & Traum (1999) distinguish five different levels of interactivity with respect to the settings in which explanations might be constructed in a CSCL environment:

  1. Explaining to oneself: During the attempt to understand something (e.g., instructional material), an individual might try to explain it to him or herself. While self-explanations may frequently be expressed silently, only self-explanations expressed aloud can beenstudied experimentally.
  2. Explaining to a passive and anonymous listener: An individual might explain to somebody he/she does not know and who just listens. In such a setting it might be investigated, for example, whether the explainer better monitors the construction of explanations as compared to a self-explanation setting.
  3. Explaining to a passive listener: An individual might explain to somebody he/she knows and who just listens. In such a setting it might be examined whether individuals tailor the construction of explanations to specific listeners.
  4. Explaining to somebody who responds in a constrained way: An individual might explain to somebody who responds to his/her explanations in a constrained way. For instance, the individual who receives the explanations might only indicate his/her understanding or non-understanding. In such a setting it might be scrutinized how the listener's responses affect the construction of explanations.
  5. Mutually explanantion: Two individuals might mutually explain to each other without any imposed constraints. In this case, explanation is no longer something that is exclusively directed from one individual to a second, but rather corresponds to a process in which two individuals attempt to negotiate and, at least partially, share their understanding of the domain under consideration.

A note on the relation with the tool

Just two quotes for now:

“Because of the interactive nature of technology and the power of its information-processing capabilities, Jonassen (1996) proposes that when students learn with technology, it becomes a "mindtool." He defines mindtools as "computer-based tools and learning environments that have been adapted or developed to function as intellectual partners with the learner in order to engage and facilitate critical thinking and higher-order learning" (p. 9). Using commonly available software (databases, spreadsheets, electronic mail, multimedia, hypermedia, and others), learners employ technology to both construct and represent knowledge. This concept is similar to Pea's (1985) conception of a cognitive technology as " . . . any medium that helps transcend the limitations of the mind, such as memory, in activities of thinking, learning, and problem solving" (p. 168).” (Boethel and Dimok, 1999: 17).

“An activity consists of acting upon an object in order to realize a goal and give concrete form to a motive. Yet the relationship between the subject and the object is not direct. It involves mediation by a third party: the instrument [...] An instrument cannot be confounded with an artifact. An artifact only becomes an instrument through the subject's activity. In this light, while an instrument is clearly a mediator between the subject and the object, it is also made up of the subject and the artifact.” (B"guin & Rabardel, 2000, P.175)

See also cognitive tool, instrumentation, external cognition


  • Beguin and Rabardel, 2000. P. Beguin and P. Rabardel, Designing for instrument-mediated activity. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems 12 (2000), pp. 173-191
  • Boethel, Martha and K. Victoria Dimock (1999). Constructing Knowledge with Technology: A Review of the Literature, SEDL, html/PDF/booklet
  • El Saddik, A. (2001) Interactive Multimedia Learning. Berlin: Springer.
  • Entelisys technologies, (2006) eLearning: From Level I to Level IV of Interactivity Why choosing the appropriate interactivity level is important. PDF, retrieved 23:25, 18 August 2007 (MEST)
  • Nova, Nicolas, The impact of Awareness Tools on Mutual Modelling in a Collaborative Setting, Master Thesis, TECFA. PDF.
  • Nunamaker, J.F. (1997). Future research in group support systems : needs, some questions and possible directions. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 47, 357-385.
  • Ploetzner R., Dillenbourg P., Praier M. & Traum D. (1999) Learning by explaining to oneself and to others. In P. Dillenbourg (Ed) Collaborative-learning: Cognitive and Computational Approaches. (pp. 103-121). Oxford: Elsevier
  • Schulmeister, R. Taxonomie der Interaktivität von Multimedia - Ein Beitrag zur aktuellen Metadaten-Diskussion, it + ti - Informationstechnik und technische Informatik, Oldenbourg, 2002, pp. 193 - 19 PDF Reprint