The Myth of the Distracted Learner

21 Mar

Today I watched a video posted by elearnerengaged that dispels the myth of the distracted learner. It’s a fun video, made by a great company (I would recommend checking out the other videos that they have created here:

In relation to the myth of the distracted learner, recently I posted about the trend for creating shorter and shorter videos for training. While it could be argued that this trend has been shaped by distracted learners and their increasingly shorter attention spans, I believe other factors are at play.

Firstly, the time allotted for training has been challenged by the increasing demands on the time of the learner. What was once a day away from the office to attend training, has been turned into the expectation of completing a 30 minute e-learning module taken at your desk.

Secondly, instructional designers have responded to the demands on learners by creating bite-size training that is available either on-demand or just-in-time.

For me, the creation of shorter training videos has been a deliberate instructional design decision (based on where learners learn and for how long).

So before we complain about the short attention spans of learners these days, we need to appreciate the demands on the modern learner. Only from that vantage point, can we, as instructional designers, find the best way to engage learners.


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