Online learning opens great opportunities for people who want to gain new knowledge at their own pace. People no longer have to travel to a particular place for training. Many international educational institutions and businesses have online programs allowing learners to complete courses from their own homes.

However, online learning brings certain challenges to both speakers and learners. As recent statistics show, learners’ attention span has been decreasing significantly as a consequence of digital technology advancement. `They are only able to keep attention on the same thing for no more than 8 seconds. That is why so much depends on content or how well a particular trainer can keep learners’ attention. For this purpose, they can take certain steps and follow several principles in their presentation.

retain attention

1. Engage learners

Keep in mind that people get bored when they are passive. Their brains refuse to accept and digest information in this case. So, they more actively they are engaged in the process, the more attentive they are in the training.

Modern online training software includes collaboration tools that allow engaging all participants in the process making it interactive and interesting. All these methods will be useless if a speaker or trainer approaches the training process formally.

Good trainers see the overall picture of the event, notice weaknesses operatively, and take actions to prevent any inconsistencies.

2. Less is more

According to a study by the American Press Institute, the majority of learners perceive information efficiently, if it isn’t longer than just 8 words. Thus, complex 43-word structures are understood by less than 10% of learners. Therefore, it’s better to deliver knowledge in brief and precise manner telling only accessible and relevant information.

3. Use examples

People remember the information more vividly if it is based on real, relevant examples. In this case, the provided knowledge seems more trustworthy. They demonstrate that the majority of doubts and issues are quite common and that there are multiple solutions to the same problems. Stories and examples allow considering the same issue from different points of view.

4. Know your audience

Each speaker in online training should be also a psychologist to some extent. They should feel the audience and keep in mind that the humans don’t like monotony. In fact, people are prone to get bored very quickly and lose interest easily. So, they should always stay vigilant and proactive to keep their attention.

A good speaker feels the audience and takes control of any vibrations. So, if you notice that the attention of your listeners wanders, it’s time to change something. The reason is that their brains need frequent stimulations to keep focused.

4. Quiz

A quiz is an excellent tool to keep the audience motivated. At the beginning of the training, you can let them know that it also includes a quiz that they should pass in order to move forward. They will have a compelling reason to listen to you attentively. Also, it will keep their brains active and focused all the time.

5. Make changes

Use versatile material for presentation. Change slides frequently. You may start with a short video about the topic that contains relevant facts or a fascinating story. Then, demonstrate some figures, illustrations, or graphical data, etc.

Also, it’s great to alternate the delivery format. For example, you may devote 10 minutes to a lecture, then organise a discussion, and then some activity involving all learners. Sometimes you may even make short pauses unexpectedly.

If you would like to talk to one of our experts about online course content get in contact on +44 (0) 28 9042 2000 or email

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