7 Tips To Beat Short Attention Spans In eLearning

7 Tips To Beat Short Attention Spans In eLearning
Summary: Even if learners are excited about their eLearning experience and can see the true potential in learning the subject matter, they may not be able to concentrate on one thing for too long. There are, however, certain ways that eLearning professionals can beat short attention spans when designing eLearning courses in order to increase knowledge retention and steer clear of cognitive overload.

How To Beat Short Attention Spans In eLearning

In this article, I’ll share 7 tips to help you beat short attention spans in eLearning, so that you can design eLearning courses that stick and cater to every member of your audience.

  1. Divide longer eLearning courses into bite-sized modules.
    Instead of perceiving learners' short attention spans as an obstacle standing in the way of achieving goals and objectives, why not look at it as a standard that allows you to create eLearning deliverables that benefit all of your learners. After all, learners with short attention spans are one of the most challenging groups to address, as they often lack the capacity to focus on tasks for a long time and tend to disconnect from the eLearning experience if they aren’t fully engaged. Therefore, if you design your eLearning courses with the specific needs of these learners in mind, you end up designing an eLearning course that is more engaging and memorable for every member of your audience. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by dividing longer eLearning courses into short modules that can be easily digested. Rather than having an eLearning course that lasts 1 hour, for example, create 10 smaller eLearning modules that only last 6 minutes each, which give your learners the chance to fully comprehend each lesson before moving onto the next one. You can also keep each slide to 15 seconds, so that your learners stay fully focused on the screen, instead of losing interest by staring at the same images and eLearning content for 60 seconds.
  2. Gamify your eLearning experience.
    Learners, even those who have impressive attention spans, can sometimes disengage from the learning process if it isn't motivational enough. This is why it’s a good idea to gamify their eLearning experiences by integrating badges, points, or leaderboards into your eLearning course design. This boosts engagement and brings out the competitive nature in your learners, which encourages them to do their best and stay focused on the task at hand rather than let their attention wander.
  3. Focus on immediate learning objectives.
    The main reason why your learners participate in an eLearning course is to learn new skills or gain knowledge that they need in the here-and-now. While some may be aware of the long term benefits of acquiring the information, a vast majority of learners want to be able to apply the knowledge as soon as they complete the eLearning course. For example, if they need to build skills they will be using on the job, they need to be made aware of how they can apply these skills from day-one and what benefits they can expect to receive by mastering the eLearning content.
  4. Offer them real world value.
    Learners with short attention spans need to know that the eLearning course is going to offer them real world value even before they enroll. Stress what information they will be learning in the eLearning course description, as well as what they can do with that information, then emphasize these applications and benefits in every aspect of your eLearning course. Your scenarios should tie into real world benefits and your stories should give your learners a clear idea of how they can put their knowledge to use once they step outside of the virtual learning environment.
  5. Navigation should be simple and straightforward.
    We have all come across at least one eLearning course, if not several, that have been so challenging to navigate that we simply gave up after the first few screens. Maybe the navigation icons were hidden by graphics or the links directed us to outdated sites. Whatever the case may be, our attention was lost and not even high quality eLearning content or stunning eLearning visual design could win it back. This is why it’s crucial to build an eLearning course easy to navigate from start to finish, as learners with short attention spans simply won’t stick around if they encounter a course flow that is confusing or frustrating.
  6. Cut out the clutter.
    There are a myriad of reasons why you should avoid cluttering your eLearning course pages. Not only does it decrease the value of your eLearning course, as learners aren’t able to take away the key pieces of information they need, but also it distracts them from the core concepts and ideas. Having a short attention span already predisposes learners to a wandering eye, and integrating an abundance of extraneous information, images and graphics won’t help in this regard.
  7. Integrate “pause points” throughout the eLearning course.
    Learners with short attention spans often prefer eLearning courses that give them an “out” from time to time. They need to be able to take a break every now and then to refresh their minds and absorb what they have already learned. They also need to be able to step away from the eLearning course if they have a busy schedule or need to take care of a personal obligation. You can keep your short attention spanned-learners focused on the eLearning experience by integrating “pause points” throughout the eLearning course that allow them to pause and then return to the spot where they left off. Create an index that features all the lessons, so that they can easily begin again when they have the time.

Use these 7 tips to create eLearning courses that leave a lasting impression on your audience and draw them into the eLearning experience. By doing so, you have the power to turn even the most distracted and impatient ones into lifelong learners.

Want to learn more about how to increase the effectiveness of your eLearning course? Read the article 7 Tips To Create eLearning Experiences That Stick to get some additional tips that can help you create for your audience eLearning experiences of real value.