Paul Rudd Information Professional

expertise gained through experience

Tom Kuhlmann eLearning event: Common Interactions and How to Build Them

Tom Kuhlmann is probably the most well-known name in the eLearning World. He has over 20 years hands-on experience in the training industry where he has developed hundreds of hours of eLearning for many major well-known brands. Tom also runs the most popular community blog on eLearning (

His presentation on ‘Common Interactions and How to Build Them’ for me – coming at eLearning from the project management side  - is really about breaking down the eLearning to its core and fundamental elements and understanding the terminology related to the various elements of the an elearning product.

For any eLearning project Tom Kuhlmann recommends that you have to consider from the outset the type of eLearning that is required and what its purpose should be in relation to its use. The key types identified by Tom are as follows:

  • Information based
  • Performance based

The value of interactions in eLearning

Adding interactions for users to perform in eLearning packages rather than simply presenting information to users as you would find in a book or journal article benefits the learning experience in a multitude of ways. Firstly, interactions enable learners to be engaged and keep their attention focused on the learning experience, moving them away from passively digestion of content. This also makes the learner’s mind engage with the content and this in turn forces them to make decisions as they progress through the learning.

Interactions in eLearning enable learners to pull the content and information for them to view instead of the eLearning doing no more than pushing content to the learner. It is recommended that engaging the learner in interactive eLearning using the three C’s philosophy as listed will enhance the learning experience through greater engagement with the learning:

  • Challenging learners’ understanding
  • Giving learners choices
  • Having those choices produce consequences

What are the common interaction types in eLearning

Learning how to utilise the following common Interactions:

  • Click
  • Hover
  • Drag

The most common interaction type is the click (click and reveal) interaction with the use of drag and drop interactions being the most uncommon.

When choosing the interaction type it is recommended that you think about whether or not the learning experience would be improved if you replace the one interaction type for another before you settle on the final interaction type for your eLearning.

A list of some of the interaction you can incorporate into eLearning are listed below:

  • Labelled graphic with markers
  • Timeline interactions
  • Media click and reveal
  • FAQ interactions
  • Checklist
  • Glossary


Where there are situations where there are large amounts of information in the eLearning that needs to be broken down a recommended and effective way of presenting this information in eLearning is to include tabs in the eLearning slides.  Tabs enable the content to be broken down into chunks and it allows for a greater sense of progression for the learner as they progress through the learning.


Some additional pieces of information and advice gleaned from the event can be seen below:

  • An additional measure to further enhance the learning experience is to build scenario interactions into the eLearning.
  • One piece of advice advocated by Tom related to creating interactions is although some interactions can look impressive it is usually best to keep them simple