by Godfrey Parkin [my emphasis]
The constant admonition from instructional designers that e-learning has to be punctuated every couple of minutes with “interactivity” is one of the saddest mantras of our time. It’s like the American notion that food cannot be palatable unless you smother it with ketchup. If you are working with training that is bland and dry, by all means bring on the sauce. But would it not be better to make the training itself more engaging in the first place?
The distinction between engagement and interactivity is crucial, and it’s one that many instructional designers – and those who commission the development work – do not appear to understand. Engagement is intense mental absorption; interactivity is often just busyness or sugar-coating. It is vitally important that learners be engaged. Interactivity, entertainment, and fun can contribute to cognitive engagement.
Interactivity for interactivity sake is absolutely wrong. One of the important questions designers needs constantly asking is "why" when trying to any interactivity into a program. Why you want to add an activity here? Why you want to include this activity? Why not another approach like such as such...? Making the learner busy is NOT engaging.
Engagement, as Godfrey pointed out, is deeper than just being busy with the material. The challenge is, of course, how to create that engagement in a learning program. Many methods have been suggested, here are some. Please suggest more.: