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Interactive media normally refers to products and services on digital computer-based systems which respond to the user’s actions by presenting content such as text, graphics, animation, video, audio, games, etc.
Though the word media is plural, the term is often used as a singular noun.
An essential feature of interactivity is that it is mutual: user and machine each take an active role (see interaction). Most interactive computing systems are for some human purpose and interact with humans in human contexts. Manovich complains that ‘In relation to computer-based media, the concept of interactivity is a tautology. .... Therefore, to call computer media “interactive” is meaningless – it simply means stating the most basic fact about computers.’. Nevertheless the term is useful to denote an identifiable body of practices and technologies.
Interactive media are an instance of a computational method influenced by the sciences of cybernetics, autopoiesis and system theories, and challenging notions of reason and cognition, perception and memory, emotions and affection.
Any form of interface between the end user/audience and the medium may be considered interactive. Interactive media is not limited to electronic media or digital media. Board games, pop-up books, gamebooks, flip books and constellation wheels are all examples of printed interactive media. Books with a simple table of contents or index may be considered interactive due to the non-linear control mechanism in the medium, but are usually considered non-interactive since the majority of the user experience is non-interactive reading.
Effects on Learning
Interactive media is helpful in these four development dimensions in which young children learn: social and emotional, language development, cognitive and general knowledge, and approaches toward learning. Using computers and educational computer software in a learning environment helps children increase communication skills and their attitudes about learning. Children who use educational computer software are often found using more complex speech patterns and higher levels of verbal communication. A study found that basic interactive books that simply read a story aloud and highlighted words and phrases as they were spoken were beneficial for children with lower reading abilities. Children have different styles of learning, and interactive media helps children with visual, verbal, auditory, and tactile learning styles. 
Interactive media makes technology more intuitive to use. Interactive products such as smartphones, iPad's/iPod's, interactive whiteboards and websites are all easy to use. The easy usage of these products encourages consumers to experiment with their products rather than reading instruction manuals.
Interactive media promotes dialogic communication. This form of communication allows senders and receivers to build long term trust and cooperation. This plays a critical role in building relationships. Organizations also use interactive media to go further than basic marketing and develop more positive behavioral relationships.
- Web documentary
- Interactive cinema
- Collective intelligence
- Digital art
- Digital media
- Information theory
- Immersive virtual reality
- Interactive advertising
- Interactive art
- Internet think tanks
- International Interactive Communications Society
- Mass collaboration
- Mass media
- Media Psychology
- Media theory
- New media art
- Social media
- User-generated content
- Video Game
- Dix, Alan; Finlay, Janet; Abowd, Gregory D.; Beale, Russell (2004). Human-computer interaction. 3rd edn. Pearson Education. p. xvi. ISBN 9780130461094.
- Manovich, Lev (2001). The Language of New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press. p. 55.
- Media psychology is the newest emerging dimension of media theory applied to interactive media. http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/sfischo/MEDIADEF-2.html
- Glaubke, Christina R., M.A. The Effects of Interactive Media on Preschoolers’ Learning: A Review of the Research and Recommendations for the Future. P. 13-17. Ed. Eileen Espejo, Patti Miller, and Christine Cordova. Children Now, 01 Oct. 2007. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.
- Robinson, Stuart. "The Disadvantages and Advantages of Interactive Media." EHow. Demand Media, 10 May 2011. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.
- DeYeso, Jennifer. "The Effect of Interactive and Traditional Media on Relationship Building." Slideshare. LinkedIn Corporation, 25 Apr. 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.