While the majority of comments in this discussion thus far have noted that interactivity can be measured in three different degrees (Lila distinguishes them as “low”, “medium”, and “high”, while Kayla mentions “reactive”, “coactive”, and “proactive”), there is a broad level of disagreement within the study of interactivity. Tom Crawford, who worked as the director of e-learning for Root Learning for six years, establishes five distinct levels.
Crawford notes that his first level of interactivity isn’t interactive at all: known as observation, there is no user input involved. In the second level, participation, users now must consume the information being fed (e.g. reading a book or listening to a lecture). Action takes this a step further by requiring the user to add their own input into the experience – voting for a contestant on American Idol, for example.
Crawford’s first three levels of interaction are very similar to the ones notes in previous posts. In his fourth level, agency, Crawford explains that user input is much more heavily involved to the point where “people could believe that they are interacting with the real world” (Crawford, paragraph 7). It’s at this level where interaction becomes a potentially dangerous force. As Alex has mentioned, immersive experiences such as this can easily become real to the user to the point where they are manipulated and controlled by a higher authority.
Ownership is the final level of interactivity – where users can now make the information that they consume their own in a way that can be truly materialized into the real world.
Kathryn’s outline of interaction and education is a great example of ownership – when a student has finally finished their education and applies it to their personal growth, career, and life. A debate arises, however – is this truly ownership as Crawford believes, or is it simulation? We must question when interaction becomes too immersive and realistic. This understanding will be the ultimate outcome of how our future society is shaped (either forcefully or naturally).
“Levels of Interactivity.” Thcrawford. 30 Nov. 2006. Web. 15 Oct. 2009. <http://thcrawford.blogspot.com/2006/11/levels-of-interactivity.html>.