In my eLearning 101: Introduction to eLearning class, I discuss learner attention span and refer often to the domestic goldfish. Believe it or not, research has been done that says the attention span of a goldfish is actually 9 seconds.
So does that mean that a person surfing the web gets distracted in 9-seconds? Of course not, that would be silly. In my class, I tell attendees that typical human attention spans are between 12 and 15 seconds. 15 seconds! Does that surprise you? If so, look at the bright side... that's better than a goldfish.
And as I mentioned in my first article, an adult learner accessing your eLearning content will have an even greater attention span than a typical web surfer. In my experience developing eLearning, I put the attention span of an adult learner at 15-20 seconds per slide or scene. But I have long come to realize that if the slide/scene plays any longer, my learners will begin to fog out.
Times have changed... and I need your attention for another moment (see what I did there?).
Remember when I said that the typical attention span of a web surfer was 9 seconds? Hold onto your hat. According to Microsoft and an article published online by Time, we now lose our concentration in a mere 8 seconds. That's right... we've now gone "sub-goldfish."
According to the article, "Microsoft found that since the year 2000 (or about when the mobile revolution began) the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds."
The article went on to say, "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.
"The survey also confirmed generational differences for mobile use; for example, 77% of people aged 18 to 24 responded 'yes' when asked, 'When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone,' compared with only 10% of those over the age of 65."
I'd love your feedback on this. What kind of attention span are you seeing with your eLearning? And given your findings, how long are your typical eLearning modules playing? (Feel free to leave your feedback as comments below.)