As the internet generation is bombarded with newer and newer ways to distract itself, we can’t really get a clear picture of all the consequences they’re having on young people’s learning systems. But one outcome is plain to anyone who spends time in any classroom, whether it’s 100% face-to-face or LMS-supplemented: shorter attention spans.
Studies show that the digital generation is less willing to read long texts, perform repetitious exercises, and memorize basic information needed to advance in any learning system, LMS or otherwise.
One problem is that this tech-savvy generation expects instant gratification, and therefore is quicker to lose confidence when faced with challenges. When success is not immediately obtained, students are quicker to lose the confidence required to see a difficult task through to completion.
And with cell phones and smartphones, students are easily distracted on a moment-to-moment basis. Many teachers are forced to create phone rules in the classroom, such as maintaining cell phones on the desk top in clear sight. However, many students get around these rules by bringing two phones to school, one active and one inactive, and hiding the one they use in their coats or in their desks.
More and more young people are admit to an adversion to reading anything but bite-sized information. We have, in effect, a generation of nonreaders.
However, one thing is still true: students are motivated to learn when what they’re learning is valuable to them, and/or seems relevant to their lives. How can these trends be mitigated or even capitalized on with the use of LMS, online training, and other educational technology?
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