How Attention Span Can Be a Problem with eLearning

If there is one potential problem with eLearning it is attention span. In younger people especially, the attention span can be remarkably short. Following, we will take a look at some things you can consider to make the eLearning experience more palatable in terms of attention span.

Shorten the Segments

The first thing to look at is how long each eLearning module is. If the course is largely video-oriented, for example, what is the length, and could it be cut down into smaller segments? Let’s say you are designing an eLearning course, and you have worked out you need an hour and a half to reach the point where a module is completed.

A Few Minutes is Digestible

Instead of a full 1.5hour session, or even two of half that time, split the course down into between five and 10 minutes for each section. This is easily digestible for anyone, and also allows for students to study more easily in their own time, and will also appeal to people who have families or who work and don’t have large chunks of time free. This method is called bite-sized approach.

Focus on Immediate Benefits

The simple fact is that learners want to be able to put the skills they are learning into use, and quickly. The best way to engage students is to give them – in the first instance – something they can use, rather than working up to the point. It may be necessary to go through several modules to reach the ultimate goal, but if your first and second short eLearning modules allow them to leave with a simple added skill that they can put to use right now, you’ll keep their attention more easily throughout the course.

Employ Gamification

Encouragement is necessary in all areas of education, and in the eLearning field it is vital. By gamification we are talking about introducing rewards of some kind, a competitive element. Students do like to be inspired to perform to their best, so you could create a league table, or offer badges and merits for above-average performance. You may be surprised how effective this is.

Engaging Marketing

Part of the attention span problem begins before the student has signed up for the course. They may read your marketing or introductory text and lose interest if it is too long, or if there is nothing there to engage them. Tell them in brief what they will gain from the course that is of real-life value. Tell them early in the text how they will benefit. Give them a good reason to sign up.

Introduce Breaks

Rather than expect your students to battle with their short attention span throughout, give them a break after a few modules. Perhaps run three modules and then allow a break between, so they can attend to the trappings of daily life that we all need to attend to.

Having a short attention span is perhaps a result of modern life, in which we expect everything right now, and by using the above methods you can help people learn more effectively despite this.

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