What IS Interactive Video, Anyway?

When someone uses the phrase, “interactive video,” what do they mean? The answer may surprise you.

Online video has been with us since the early 2000s. As popularized by YouTube, the ability to watch videos on demand is part of our digital culture. But what are people actually doing when they watch that inspirational clip? Press the “Play” button? Maybe adjust the volume or go to full screen view? Nod and share it on Facebook? If the player is little more than a tiny TV, then the video experience is “flat” or passive in nature (even if the video itself is interesting).

An example of flat or static video

In a recent Nima Hunter study, only 31% of learning professionals surveyed said they were extremely or very familiar with the concept of interactive video—contrasted with 82% who said the same about e-learning. A significant number believed that online video (like the one above) was already interactive. But when samples of in-player interactivity were shown (see below), the majority expressed a keen interest in learning more.

Just passively watching a video is clearly not interactive—or even active. Counting the number of views or call-to-action clicks in a video is somewhat interactive, but you’re mainly interacting with an advertising system. Real interactivity is not just about how you connect with technology—video or otherwise.

An example of interactive video

Interactive video should be a way for people (instructors, students, consultants, clients) to connect with each other!

Real learning is not about rote memorization and passing “multiple guess” questions. It’s about engaging your own thoughts and joining the discussion. For mobile learners, truly interactive video can be just that.


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