The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a universally accepted file format for documents. PDF has made it possible for the world to go paperless. When it was introduced in the early 1990s, its adoption was slow, partly because of slow internet speed leading to lengthy download times. Over the years, various features were added to the PDF. The most important ones include editing, e-signatures, form functionality and web display. Adding rich media to the mix is what has made the PDF interactive. Although some digital gurus may consider the interactive PDF to be somewhat outdated, it is a very useful piece of technology that forms a bridge towards modern computer literacy.
Interactive PDF helps a learner transition from traditional instructor-based learning to computer-based learning. It has helped learners solve the following learning problems among others.
Adaptability struggleLearners who are accustomed to face-to-face classroom-based learning, find it tough at first to adapt to computer-based training. Interactive PDF is traditional enough to contain long form text along with rich media elements like embedded videos, quizzes, hyperlinks, social media buttons and more, making it easy to transition from textbook-based offline learning to online courses. Traditional learning includes a degree of passivity on the learner’s behalf. Whereas, online learning counts on proactivity on the behalf of the learner. Interactive PDF is an easy enough technology that prepares learners to take on the bigger challenge of online courses.
Technical issuesLiving in a metropolitan city, we take computers and high-speed internet for granted. The dream of Digital India is still a distant one with many towns having to manage with low bandwidth internet. Some towns are unfortunate to experience power cuts which puts a huge damper on e-learning. In these cases, an interactive PDF is a very simple solution. Depending on the media, it works easily with low bandwidth internet. PDFs can also be downloaded to be studied when offline. Basic, low-cost tablets are pretty handy when it comes to studying with interactive PDFs.
Computer literacyUnfamiliarity with technology or computer literacy is an issue with some of the senior/older learners and those with no access to technology. To supplement their traditional learning, they need basic, low level technology in order to gain familiarity with advanced e-learning courses. Interactive PDF is designed to be intuitive in nature in order to be easily used by people from all walks of life. Buttons are added to navigate, edit, copy, and share the document. Fonts, colours, layout and design add life to an otherwise dull document. Basic understanding of interactive PDF helps in building fundamentals of computers, which would be helpful when pursuing an online course.
Attention spanE-learning is usually a solo pursuit. This self-paced learning is bound to face issues on the engagement front. The internet has cut down our attention span enough to cause a problem in concentration even with traditional classroom-based learning. Dull, long videos/text can be non-effective in e-learning. Breaking learning into manageable parts has proven to be a better option. Interactive PDF has the advantage of breaking text into small bites that are easy to consume. Visual aids, quizzes and simulations make the PDF dynamic, fun and interactive for the learners.
Dull subject matterAll subjects contain matter that is dull and monotonous. Giving up is not an option. It is important to get through this with discipline and a bit of motivation. PDF attempts to make the subject matter interesting by adding media for the learner to interact with. Interactive PDF brings life to the document, adding layers to your learning experience. It becomes tougher to deal with dull topics with passive, traditional learning. Interactive PDF requires the learner to interact and explore the document in order to learn, making dull subjects somewhat interesting.
Interactive PDF may not be as exciting as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, but it has its own place in the e-learning space. It works perfectly for those who do not yet have the technical proficiency to explore an online course. Requiring low bandwidth internet, interactive PDF solves learning problems without burning a hole in the pocket.