Trends in education – decreasing student attention spans

Trends in Education – decreasing student attention spans Verbalists Education Beyond Borders Podcast

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21-OCT-2022 | Education and teaching styles must adjust to the brain which has changed due to an increasingly digitalized lifestyle.

If you thought that the notoriously ill-focused goldfish has the shortest attention span, then you are in for a big surprise. On average, the attention span of goldfish is nine seconds, yet according to a new study done by Statistic Brain and published by Microsoft, people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds.

Microsoft reports that since the year 2000, which was the start of the mobile revolution, the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. The incredible four-second drop in attention span is believed to have come about because of the nature of technology and the constant stimulation it offers viewers.

On the positive side, the report says our ability to multitask has drastically improved in the mobile age.

Microsoft theorized that the changes were a result of the brain’s ability to adapt and change itself over time and a weaker attention span may be a side effect of evolving to a mobile Internet.

How often do the younger generations give up the focus of personal interaction for the sake of not missing the internet events of the day? Things are now moving so quickly that many within the younger generations do not want to miss out on anything. Consequently, their attention spans are being shortened to accommodate that next big event which can only be experienced on the internet or by way of the smart phone.

This change in attention trends also has a tremendous impact on education and new teaching styles that ought to emerge. Instructors need to design their classes to keep students engaged. The education content must have excellent visuals and dialogue along with an interesting storyline. This younger group cares more about the narrative and the visual nature of the content. Modern students want to be challenged, and value interaction.

When content is highly engaging, students do have the potential to pay attention for longer periods than past generations. They can focus for hours on a single project, but it has to feel relevant and meaningful to them and they need to have the time and the space to accomplish it.

For instructors and teachers who learn how to engage with these students, they can present rewarding opportunities for classroom growth.


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