‘Humans now have an attention span shorter than a goldfish’ . Headlines such as this are now common across digital media. According to a study done in the early 2000s, the average attention span of humans decreased from 12 seconds to eight seconds. However, content creators began to churn out shorter and more engaging content for the viewer.
With the pandemic-led shift to online modes of learning, there are concerns over the attention span of students. With more students gaining access to the Internet, digitisation of education is unavoidable. Studies have found that use of e-learning techniques in classrooms have had a positive impact on students and aided significantly in their learning process.
Further, it provides teachers and students with helpful features such as progress tracking, a plethora of study material, and the ability to customise study plans based on individual needs. To maximise the potential of digital learning, teachers need to find the proper methods and a balance between different mediums. To mitigate the negative effects of the Internet, educators and parents must set restrictions, rules, and boundaries.
Despite the numerous benefits, many still believe that e-learning and digital media do more harm than good. Parents and educators need to understand the positive impact on students. For students, it is important to make technology more about learning and less about entertainment. While digitisation is the future, the importance of offline classrooms cannot be erased altogether.
Another factor that impacts e-learning and attention span is course duration. According to studies, an adult’s maximum attention span is 20 minutes. This calls for a change not only in the course length but also the teaching method, which needs to be interactive and engaging. Educators can use the micro-learning method, which involves splitting down bigger content into smaller pieces for easy consumption. There also needs to be a balance between content and approach, which should include multimedia presentations, interactive games and activities.
While there is no denying that the average attention span is reducing, studies also have shown an increase in the ability to grasp content. If harnessed properly, the advantages of digital learning can be far-reaching and pave the way for a better future.
The writer is VP Marketing, SRV Media Pvt. Ltd.