Case Study: E-learning, The Attention Span of a Gold Fish

Gold fish are said to have a 2 second memory, which is the time it takes them to swim around their little basin and believe they are facing a whole new world. Do you sometimes find your class or yourself to have a similar attention span? How do you keep acquiring new skills and training your team in a relevant and engaging way?

For a company called Safehotels which trains Hoteliers in managing safety, they try to create ‘realistic environments’ to keep the attention of the attendees. For example, rather than just conducting guest heart attack emergency response training in a standard classroom environment, the trainees are also taken to a hotel bedroom or bathroom with the bathroom steamed up and tv on full blast in the background to experience the actual reality of conducting a first aid CPR and response scenario where it is most likely to happen.

Another example is inflight safety videos. Nobody disagrees that it is important, yet if you think back at e.g. your last flight – did you concentrate and listen to the instructions? Air New Zealand has taken innovative measures, filming the safety videos in the “Lord of the Rings” universe, featuring several of the main actors, creating an incredible safety video. Not only do people onboard watch it, more than 20 million people have actively looked for it on YouTube.

Within training formats, there is a trend towards more ‘training on the go’, ie. training done at the point of need, when you are stuck or have a question. At that point you will be motivated to seek the answer and do training on the spot. E.g. if you are learning a new system, you may use the help files available at every page, or small pop-up explanations next to complicated measures, or if you are lucky a little introduction film will start automatically when you open a new page. The support could also be available via a helpline, manager or similar, but most important is to quickly find the answer and hereby maintain the motivation and curiosity to continue on the new path.

Business Productivity, a UAE based Learning company, have moved almost entirely to video training. Ulrika Hedlund, founder of Business Productivity, says “videos are very effective for today’s YouTube savvy workforce that are too bored and too impatient to sit through lengthy, feature-based product trainings”. Their ‘GetSharpVideos’ help companies create scenario based videos, increasing user adaptation in companies of e.g. technology learning.

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, video has for several years exceeded any other kind of personal data sharing due to YouTube and other video based Apps, in the future video will exceed web, data and other file sharing for business use as well.

In the future, the biggest learning growth is expected in mobile learning – a platform integrating ‘on-the-go’ and gaming. Mobile learning is predicted to grow by 18% annually per year in the Middle East.

Roberta Gogos, Head of Marketing at Docebo says “M-learning is, without a doubt the future for e-learning as smartphones become the device of choice for work and play, and a virtual extension of the self. On-demand performance support, on-the-go knowledge checking, and learning at any time will define our next generation of students and workers. Flexible, immediate, portable, effective, engaging – that’s mobile!

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