Infographic - Pay Attention-Adult Learners Need Engaging Course Design -- Allen Communication

[Infographic] Pay Attention! Adult Learners Need Engaging Course Design

Brian Alexander and Brianne Sandorf Instructional Design Tips 3 Comments

Maintaining focus in the workplace has been a constant hotbed of discussion over the last decade across all professions. Each year, more and more research is released proclaiming the rapid decline of our attention span throughout the workday.

While the jury is still out on whether goldfish maintain better focus than adult humans, one thing is quite clear, the way we pay attention and process information has undergone a major shift. This shift can be primarily attributed to the advancements made in technology, from social media to digital devices, items commonly accessible to the average adult in the workplace.

With the everyday tasks of most career professionals lasting well beyond a few seconds, companies must now find ways to not only keep their workforce engaged, but cater to this changing landscape of short attention spans.

This informative infographic shares what affects the attention span of adult learners and how thoughtful course design can be a powerful tool in meeting the needs of how today’s learners focus best.

Infographic - Pay Attention-Adult Learners Need Engaging Course Design -- Allen Communication


How is your company helping its adult learners to stay focused in the workplace?


Comments 3

  1. I would have to disagree with your “declutter the course, removing “extra” graphics, video. In fact, we are seeing folks go straight to a video and ignore everything else. We now have three adult generations in play who have all been entirely socialized as “screen beanies” – when they see a screen, a whole array of expectations are engaged. When we just have boring, boring, text, then they are….bored and switch off. I am all for minimalist approaches that are not visually overloaded or too too much, but defining what are “extras” for adult learners coming to a class with a variety of previous work experiences and knowledge bases, it is difficult to define – what is extra. For one student, they might watch three-four or however many videos you post; another student with greater starting knowledge may only need one. Same with the graphics – pictures are instantly uploaded brain wise – picture tells a 1,000 words. Pictures are used to “declutter” text.

    1. That’s a good point. I think the distinction here is the word “extra.” While it’s usually better to have more videos and graphics and less text, here at AllenComm we’ve found it’s not good to have video or graphics just for the sake of having video or graphics. We don’t want to overload a course with unnecessary stock images or gratuitous video when it doesn’t serve an instructional purpose. When there are too many images or video, what was once engaging becomes irritating and disengaging. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

  2. The great work by Ruth Clark has shown that video and graphics are great; video and graphics that don’t directly support the material is distracting and gets in the way of learning. There’s nothing wrong with white space on your page. In fact, research has shown that white space is good at helping learners focus on what’s important. Getting rid of things that don’t move your course forward is really important.

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