Learners today are faced with many challenges, one of which is short attention spans. Thanks to the large amount of information available on the Internet instantaneously, Smartphones, and people’s busy schedules, an adult’s attention span can be reduced to mere minutes.
Keeping someone’s attention during training is extremely challenging when most trainings are hours, even days in length. In most cases, a normal attention span for an adult is approximately 15-20 minutes. What is one to do when there are several hours of material that need to be covered?
Here are a few things that may help you when planning your next training:
Learning Format. Many people fall into the routine of showing PowerPoint slide after PowerPoint slide. People have seen these bulleted slides over and over again. Fewer slides tend to be better. Make sure to mix up your fonts and use unusual colors. You want them to be enjoyable to look at. Can your slides can be read from the back of the room? There is nothing worse than being in the back and not being able to see what is on the screen. Want to mix it up? Try Prezi, easel.ly, or Powtoon. These are only a few options, there are many more online that offer an alternative to the standard Power Point. The key is to have great visual impact and to capture the audience’s attention.
Social Interaction. Most adult learners prefer social interaction with the group versus being lectured to from the front of the conference room. At the start of your session, have an ice breaker so people can get to know one another. This will help during the rest of the training when you have small group discussion. Breaking up training by having frequent question and answer sessions is something a trainer can do to keep the attention on the material. Dividing into small groups where the adult learners can integrate their life experiences, new ideas, and use their existing knowledge is a win-win situation for the trainer and the attendees.
Break Time. Everybody needs a break. Be respectful of your students. Frequent breaks for the restroom, snacks (fruit, nuts, mints, etc.), a moment to stretch the legs, and also to check their email will be much appreciated. People are accustomed to being able to check in with their work emails many times throughout the day and also to touch base with family as needed. If you have a no cell phone policy during training then make sure during break times, people know they can check their phones.
End of Session Survey. At the end of your session, pass out a survey. Be prepared for honest answers so you can make your presentation better the next time. Many people have presented before and can offer helpful tips. Have an open mind about the change you may need to incorporate.
Keeping any sized group attentive for a significant period of time is a difficult task. Planning extensively, incorporating eye catching slides, having your students interact with each other, and allowing for breaks will help you keep your group engaged.
Website used: trainingindustry.com