Attention span in e-learning courses: how long should they be?

learning attention span blog

And you? Do you train or do you bore? It is clear that every kind of learning has a cost, even e-learning courses. For this reason, at isEazy Author we want to touch base on learning attention span in online courses and how long they should be. Should courses be short and concise or long and full of information? That decision will depend on the target audience and the context of the course. However, there are some tips that can help your e-learning courses have the biggest impact.

It is estimated that the average time a user spends in a learning session is 15 minutes. That time coincides with the actual amount of time they will spend on a website or e-learning course. It is also worth noting that 15 minutes is a long time for a person visiting a web page (people usually spend around 2 minutes).

So, now the question arises…. What keeps people interested 6.5 times longer than usual?

The importance of the time a user spends on e-learning courses

If you make sure your online course is the right length for the target audience, you will get:

  • Your learners to complete the course satisfactorily.
  • A motivated audience, and they’ll be more eager to come back for more!
  • Your people to put their new knowledge into practice as soon as possible.

At this point, you must be wondering, can I keep their attention in an e-learning course and compete with other formats (video, audio…)?

15 minutes is the ideal length for an e-learning course… if your learners have time!

If you pay attention, it is curious that 15 minutes is the length of the TED Talk, which stipulates that no presentation should last more than 18 minutes. In addition, if you are a regular at this type of talks, you will know that Chris Anderson said in one of them: “Eighteen minutes is long enough to be serious and short enough to get people’s attention”.

Eighteen minutes, it’s also the time we can squeeze in while having a coffee or multitasking.

If we analyze other types of e-learning content, we can see that the average time of a learner’s session varies a lot. This will depend on:

  • The learner’s desire to learn.
  • The type of content.
  • The time they have available.

Average time of a student’s attention span depending on the format

As we have already mentioned, the type of content you include in your course will keep your learner’s attention focused, or not! Let’s look at different examples:

  • Video content: Video in e-learning content is one of the most effective resources when it comes to impacting your audience. The leading video content platform (YouTube) shows that the abandonment rate of videos usually starts after 3 minutes.
  • Online stores: Websites that include online sales should take advantage of the impact that occurs at the beginning of the visit (it is estimated that the interest decreases from 2 minutes on a web page). Have you ever developed your e-learning courses thinking about boosting sales?
  • Blogs: From 6 minutes onwards, users’ interest decreases. Not surprisingly, the most popular blogs use less than 1,000 words to develop quality content that provides extra value to their users. As it is a “shorter” type of content, it is also more likely to be shared and read by more people.
  • Podcast: This type of format is ideal for people on the go since they can listen to them from any mobile device. If you decide to use it, try to make it 15-18 minutes long.

When talking about e-learning courses, there are some behaviors that your user will have that are directly related to the type of content you offer. If you are including mini videos, it is very important that you think about the call to action, what you want your learners to do, if it’s going to help them assimilate the information better…

learning attention span

3 tips to increase attention during an e-learning course

One of the biggest doubts when creating e-learning courses is…. How can I keep the attention of my students? At isEazy Author we give you some basic tips:

Use a descriptive title!

When we talk about blogging, or sharing content on social networks, one of the things that help us attract an audience is the title. It is estimated that the most popular articles have around 12-18 words. Although it may seem a bit shocking at first, the truth is that this allows you to better convey the topic, purpose and benefit.

Why not apply this same strategy for creating e-learning courses? This way, you will attract more learners who are interested in that topic. For example: If your course is about computer security, you can develop the title by showing some of the course content: ‘Phishing attacks are on the rise. These are the keys to keep your personal identity safe’.

Try to custom your content

Can you imagine anything more frustrating than offering information your learners know? If this happens, your course won’t be relevant, nor will it be shared. When you structure the contents of your e-learning course, design it thinking about the needs of the learners, always having relevant and useful content.

Nowadays, companies invest a lot of money in creating websites that respond to the needs of their target audience, adapting the design and content. This is also possible in the e-learning world, using assessments and measuring the learning level of the students.

One of the most important rules: less is more

Does the session time really correspond to the learning time? If your course has content that does not add extra value, it is best to omit it.

Phil Crosby advocates that “no one can remember more than three points”. And this same concept also applies to e-learning.

How much information can a person receive in 1,5,10,15 minutes? There is a curious aspect: the more content a learner tries to absorb, the less information they will assimilate. It is best to focus your course on the key points. This way, your learner will remember and process them easily.

Something very important to keep in mind is:

  • What could I improve about my e-learning course?
  • In order for my audience to become better professionals, what concepts should be enhanced?
  • After finishing this course, what training can he/she start next?

If you want the level of attention to be maintained during your course, it must meet your needs. In short, try this:

  • Set out the length. The optimal time per session is usually less than 18 minutes.
  • Use titles with 12-18 words to attract your audience.
  • If you include video content, make it no longer than 3 minutes.
  • Don’t overwhelm your course. Focus on the key points you want to promote.
  • Customize your course to suit your audience.
  • Use assessments to measure the level of learning.
  • If you need to, you can use our templates for online courses.

Would you like to boost the learning attention span of your students in your online training? Try isEazy Author for free and make the most of your e-learning content. You will be delighted with the results 😊.

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