Interactive e-learning course vs. video

What do you have in mind hearing the expression ‘e-learning’? I am constantly surprised that most people instantaneously will think of a video. They will either imagine videos in which an expert can be seen talking (more or less a recorded lecture – but without any chance to interact with the lecturer) or high-quality animation videos – either as a cartoon or even as 3D animation.

Of course, videos can be used in e-learning. But not exclusively. You can also use screencasts, searchable PDFs, software simulations or – an interactive e-learning course, in which the learners are involved, must actively adopt the content, may have to answer small quiz questions or pass a final test. A video can be part of an interactive e-learning course. It doesn’t work the other way around.

I personally almost always prefer the interactive course over a video. I feel less exposed to it, less forced to passively consume content at a predefined pace in a certain order. At best, I’m bored. Unfortunately, I am usually irritated because the pace is too slow or too fast for me, or I would like to skip a topic, or I simply don’t like watching the person speaking.

Certainly, videos with a lecturing expert are to be produced quickly and it no longer needs a lot of technology to produce a respectable result. However, it will be difficult if something is to be changed afterwards. Moreover, these videos are often incredibly boring. Unfortunately, most experts on a particular topic are not necessarily experts in interesting mediation. In a boring lecture at the university, I could at least ask one (or more) question(s) to keep myself awake.

So far, I have only seen one video series from an expert, in which I voluntarily watched several videos in a row. The expert was also an actor and speaker at the same time. That helped a lot. (

If you have a 3D animation in mind, e.g. blood cells racing through the bloodstream, then effort, expanse and learning success are in many cases no longer in a reasonable relationship. This might be fancy, but most commonly, it will clearly exceed the budget.

It is important to keep the learning objective in mind and to consider how it can be achieved most skillfully. Based on the target group, the topic – but of course also on the resources that are available. And certainly, different methods can be combined with each other …