Interactive Media: Definition and Meaning

Many names describe digital applications' interactive characters, including multimedia, new media, and interactive design. Because the interactive sector has rapidly progressed through stages, the names are frequently coined to represent a phase that is then exceeded. A brief historical summary will provide the context many newcomers to the dynamic industry are unfamiliar with.

What is Interactive Media?

As such, interactive media differ from traditional or linear media because its design and development rely directly on user engagement. Participant participation is, therefore, both a fundamental concept and an intended system outcome (e.g., first-person video games). Interactive media design frequently relies on predetermined amounts of user input, such as author-defined hot spots (e.g., buttons) and triggers (e.g., actions).

These can range from highly programmed pathways (where the user is given a certain order and quantity of alternatives) to exploratory roaming (where the user is allowed complete freedom to explore the system and narrative universe). By definition, interactive media includes fiction, nonfiction, and virtually all multimedia types in 2-D and 3-D areas (text, audio, picture, video, and animation). Online and offline worlds, virtual and hybrid settings, genres and forms, academic subjects, and professional jobs are all covered by interactive media (e.g., video games, interactive documentaries, educational DVDs, and augmented reality apps).

Characteristics of Interactive Media

There are several properties of interactive multimedia as a self-instructional mode that are similar to those of programmed instruction and self-instructional modules in open learning. The interactive multimedia has the following characteristics−

  • Clearly Defined Target Group − As a personalized instructional mode, IMM is created for a clearly defined target group after examining the group's characteristics. The target audience must be considered while creating the content, including the language, examples, illustrations, cultural specifics, amount of explanation, and multimedia inputs (such as sound effects, animations, etc.).

  • Specific Targets − As a first phase in the construction of the IMM, terminal behavioral objectives are identified. The creation of evaluation tools to evaluate the learner in light of these goals comes next. Thus, defining objectives assures accurate learning outcomes.

  • Content in Small Chunks − IMM only moves on to the next section after ensuring that the previous notion, piece of knowledge, or skill has been understood. The learner can master the material more easily, thanks to this step-by-step instruction. Using maxims like "from simple to complicated," "concrete to abstract," and "examples to rules or concepts," the content is organized in a way that makes it easier to understand and conceptualize.

  • Student-controlled and adaptive mode − IMM gives the learner the most control. The next step, navigation options, access to sub-modules, the choice and speed of multimedia inputs like music and video, and even the type of learning (presentation, simulation, or drilling), can all be managed.

  • Interactivity − IMM is an activity-oriented self-instructional method that, as its name suggests, seeks frequent and clear responses from learners at every stage. IMM can offer an active response in the form of question-and-answer quizzes and puzzle-solving, similar to other non-computerized content. IMM's modelling and simulation models can also create an immersive and creative learning environment.

  • Immediate Feedback and Reinforcement − IMM is an electronic gadget that instantly confirms each learner's response. A well-designed IMM gives learners corrective feedback that aids in efficient learning.

The Multimedia Language

Manovich offers five new media tenets that have come to serve as the standard framework for conceptualizing, creating, and assessing interactive media. Which are −

  • Numerical Representation − Binary code makes up digital artifacts (computer data). They can be mathematically described and subsequently transformed by algorithms.

  • Modularity − Digital objects have a modular structure and correspond to autonomous media containers;

  • Automation − Due to their numerical representation and modularity, digital media objects can be automated;

  • Variability − As a result of principles (1) and (2), digital artifacts are mutable through computational processing; and

  • Transcoding − A database can be converted into various multimedia formats using computers and programming.

Strengths of Interactive Media

When we evaluate all of the primary qualities of interactive multimedia, we can determine the strengths of the content that is available to us as a result of each of the traits.

  • Learner-Controlled Content − It enables learners to learn at their speed. Active learning assists learners in better comprehending things. Interactivity keeps learners engaged throughout the learning process and makes learning more meaningful. It aids with comprehension and retention.

  • Validation Program − The IMM are validated by executing them on a wide sample of learners, which ensures the material's quality and correctness. Expert validation eliminates the possibility of mistakes.

  • Multimedia Components − Multisensory learning is enabled by all multimedia elements. It assists learners in visualizing their learning experiences and helps to make learning concrete.

  • Advanced Technology − Advanced technology enables us to give more diverse and relevant experiences. It supports both gaming mode and simulation mode. With the assistance of innovative technology, students may explore and experiment independently.


Learning, as a medium, has inherent limits. Understanding these constraints will aid us in planning to use this content in the teaching-learning process. The lack of infrastructure is a significant barrier to using IMM. Though IMM is extremely successful in learning, it is generally anticipated that learners would be given computer systems to use this IMM software. Reaching the unreachable can only be accomplished by supplying them with computer systems and energy if we want to expose them through IMM.

Before bringing this up, whenever experts debate the usage of computerized material and e-learning resources, it is important to note that many children and schools have the such infrastructure but lack excellent material. Today's youngsters use accessible computer systems to play games and learn computer education topics such as DTP and programming.

Teamwork is required for the creation of high-quality multimedia content. As you progress through this subject, you will thoroughly understand the developmental process. At the end of the module, you will agree that it is a collaborative effort that incurs costs. Institutes may make the entire activity cost-effective if carefully planned and conducted; otherwise, IMM development is expensive. Collaboration within institutes will always be advantageous in this field.


It takes a team to create high-quality multimedia content. The infrastructure facility is a significant barrier to using IMM. Although IMM is very effective in the classroom, it is generally anticipated that students will be given computers to use these IMM programs. If we want to give the unreached exposure through IMM, we can only give them computers and power. Before raising this concern, remember that many children and schools have the necessary infrastructure but need more high-quality educational resources.

Updated on: 28-Apr-2023


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