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Our brains are capable of generating between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts per day. That's a whole lot of noise happening in our minds, non-stop. Add to this social media, notifications, emails, and other external noise, and it's no wonder that learner distractions occur. Still, overcoming distractions in learning is not just possible, but necessary; and, science equips us with the knowledge and tools to do it.
Studies show that today corporate employees have shorter attention spans. This is partly due to those powerful, yet attention-grabbing handheld devices. While engaging in eLearning, a learner can feel tempted to check their social media, browse the web, and watch unrelated video content.
You can't stop your thoughts, but you can work to focus them on the task at hand. You can also use training tactics to help your employees channel their attention on your learning programs. The best way to improve employee engagement is to deliver short microlearning modules. Cut down the information to bite-size chunks. For example, a 20-minute lesson can be broken down into 5-minute sprints. This way, the learner will have an easier time staying focused. To make sure information gets easily assimilated, keep it clean and clear, and present the most important concepts first.
Assessing learner evolution is also important. Quick questions, pop-quizzes, and other forms of immediate assessment show long term benefits. Employees are more likely to retain new concepts and grow more confident in using their newly-acquired skills. Also, ensure you pass along the feedback. It's important for each of them to understand the level they are at so they can fill in any knowledge gaps.
Of course, the learning platform needs to have captivating design and functionality. An efficient UI/UX design needs to provide a flowing experience. Remove any unnecessary design elements and use colors to indicate levels of importance. The user should be able to easily navigate the modules. An interactive design, with multimedia components, will extend the learner's attention span and keep them engaged longer.
Gamification is also a great employee learning strategy. Including gamification or game-based learning apps into the training course will bring in the fun factor. Employees will learn through playing. This is one of the most powerful tools for learning since it removes stress and fear of failure.
Whatever you do, do not use fluffy visuals in your employee training modules. If the images are not relevant and do not support the course content, remove them. Learners will retain a relevant photo faster than they can grasp difficult concepts. Pair the photos with key text elements and differentiators. The photo should paint an accurate picture of the concept you're looking to explain.
Another tactic is to grab the user's attention with a bit of shock value. Start off the micromodule with a bit of information that attracts their curiosity. Give the learner a fun fact, a preposterous statistic, or a fascinating figure. You can even begin with the conclusion to draw them in to find out how you got there. People respond well to valuable or intriguing information and they'll want to learn more.
Contrast and comparisons
Sustained attention can be achieved through contrasting elements and by making comparisons. Our brains are hardwired to look for interesting, new content. When it finds it, it revels in delight. Using metaphors, similes, and comparisons is an effective approach to fending off learner distraction.
Storytelling and emotional linking
Put the trainee at the center of the action with storytelling. An emotionally charged scenario will help the learner connect to the content in a significant way. They'll feel like part of the solution instead of believing they lack skills or knowledge.
If you can personalize for relevance to employees’ work experience, even better. Learning content personalization clears training distractions. Cater the information specific to your design, marketing, or any other departments in your business. A computer programmer will have different needs when compared to a designer. So, make sure to manicure eLearning courses accordingly.
Table of contents
One small implementation that goes a long way is including a table of contents. Learners will be much more at ease with the course content when they know what to expect to learn. Their brain will start connecting the dots as soon as they read what's in store for each micromodule.
As important as it is to help your employees grow, remember that learning occurs during rest periods. Be careful not to overwhelm your employees with too much information, too fast. Allow for periods of reflection and perhaps even offer a day or two off at the end of the training. Avoid learner distractions by arming yourself with the pertinent information. Also, asking for outside help when you feel stuck can make or break your business' learning culture efforts.
Designing Digitally specializes in creating custom learning experiences that are designed to help fight learner distractions and ensure an effective delivery. To talk to one of our team members about your training initiatives, contact us today!