Learner Engagement in a World of Distractions


This topic came up as me and my colleagues head back to our office after a luncheon with a client. Nothing off course in our lunch. But it was the table alongside that got our attention (ironical, this :)). A group of about 10 college-goers merrily went about having their meal with an occasional laugh, some chitter-chatter but largely glued to their mobile phones. They happily multi-tasked their eating, laughing, talking, texting, and Facebook-ing. They could have, might as well, ordered in and FaceTimed, I thought!

But that's the truth of our times. Digital distractions — incoming texts, alluring social media, and irrelevant web-browsing and ubiquitous technology in general — are pulling attention away at an alarming rate. When it's not this, it's the competing priorities at work and home, and the daily pressures of college/work life, the work-life (im)balance, amongst other things that eat into our attention spans. And it's not just the school and college students that are falling prey to this. Each one of us is distracted to some level. While some of us might be doing a good job of curbing this, most of us are sailing the same boat.

The good news, however, is that the whole "low attention span" myth has been debunked for good. It turns out that there is no evidence that goldfish - or fish in general - have particularly short attention spans or memories, despite what popular culture suggests. But what remains to be debunked is the fact/ myth about "distractions". Until then, the topic of 'Learner Engagement in a World of Distractions' needs to be addressed. Soon!

So, here's me along with some great minds in the UpsideLMS team sharing our thoughts on what we can do to counter distractions in the world today with technology-enabled learning.

Got some ideas on bringing about learner engagement? I'd love to hear them.