COVID-19 has truly made us appreciate technology and rely on it even more than we did in the past. From the ability to work from home to online schooling, it certainly has changed the way we think and operate. We can all agree that working from home comes with its own baggage. However, kids who are currently relying on technology and online learning have a far more difficult setup.
Think back to your seven-year-old self. Though wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, you likely had a hard time staying in your seat and remaining focused for more than eight minutes, let alone staring at a screen for the entirety of your school day. For this reason, news sources, apps and informational programs have never been of greater importance for student learning.
The average attention span of a young person is short. If you haven't tried already, we'd be willing to bet that placing your child or student in front of a 50-minute educational video did not prove to be successful.
Small, short and educational videos are the best solution for young children who are working to learn online. Short bursts of information, rather than lengthy ones, enable students and young children to absorb information and think critically, as well as ask questions. While longer videos might provide more information, they are less likely to retain the attention of a young learner.
Despite your child's age range, many experts consider this up-and-coming generation to be one that gets easily distracted and has short attention spans as a result of growing up with technology. Growing up with knowledge and information at the click of a button has created a generation with shorter attention spans and less patience.
Because of this, allowing students to view compacted information or segments within a show will help achieve your goal of learning.
Engaging with the Content
It's one thing for a child to consume content, but are they engaging with it? While these two activities can seem similar, in practice, they're completely separate.
When a child consumes content, they could be listening to the words and viewing images, but they might not be actually hearing, processing or understanding what is being said. Oftentimes as a parent, the best way to encourage engagement is to pause periodically and ask questions like: "Do you understand what you've seen so far?"
By asking questions or prompting learning, you make your student far more likely to pay attention and absorb information. Finding an online learning source that encourages these types of interaction and learning is extremely beneficial toward online learning.
Establishing a Routine
Students and children greatly benefit from established routines in school and at home. Leveraging online resources and building them into a consistent routine can help to continuously capture the attention of a young child. In turn, this increases the likelihood the child will retain the information.
Establishing a new virtual routine is essential for a child's growth and development. Provide breaks and add in time to consume educational materials and online assets. This can help a child feel more comfortable and ready to learn.
When we created Wimee's Words—a web series featuring a fun lovable robot that inspires kids to learn through creativity—we kept online learning and its difficulties in mind. Having the show consistently air at the same time each day helps to establish routines. The show is also fed online for anyone who needs or wants to create their own schedule. We focus on short segments within the show to further help students retain information, as well as stay engaged. The interactive show invites kids to share their ideas that then get incorporated into the show as it's being broadcast, helping viewers engage rather than just view.
Engaging your young learner through online learning can be difficult and frustrating. By identifying the right platform and tool for your student, you can eliminate a large portion of that stress.
Learn more at Wimee's Words.
Michael Hyacinthe is the CEO of Wimage, LLC. Michael is a veteran of the U.S. Navy Seabees and used his experience with wounded veterans to find a creative and therapeutic outlet for them to express themselves. This compelled him to create the Wimage owner of Wimee' Words, which he then discovered was appropriate for the EdTech and the ArtTech market.