Long gone are the days of boring, monotonous lessons. The younger generations are gravitating towards a more different learning style that requires engagement, called Nano Learning.
Decreasing Attention Spans
The human attention span is decreasing, it is now less than the 9 seconds span of a goldfish! With our brains being bombarded with information constantly via our smart devices, our daily dose of stimulation has made our brains used to short and simple media. According to a study by Microsoft Corp, this has caused the human attention span to reduce to 8 seconds.
The younger generations – Gen Z and Gen Alpha – are more technology dependent than their older counterparts. They spend more time using social media, especially TikTok which mostly has short-form content that is highly engaging. The way they learn is very similar to how they engage online.
As technology evolves, so does the human mind, it adapts fast and adjusts itself to new ways of gathering information. Tech advances significantly influence the younger generations, so schools and teachers need to be aware of how children respond to teaching. This is where nano-learning comes in.
What is Nano-Learning?
Nano-learning is a highly specific way of learning designed to help people grasp concepts through small chunks of information presented within a short timeframe. This learning style is especially evident in early education whose demographic is mostly made up of Generation Alpha, who are very tech-savvy despite being very young.
In the age of TikTok, Snapchat and Youtube the way students learn has changed immensely. Social media relies on quick yet informative content that allows the user to move on to the next topic fast. Nano-learning adapts this same concept by teaching a section of a larger topic in under 2 minutes so that students can quickly move on to the next module.
How can Schools Utilise Nano-Learning?
It is imperative for schools/universities to understand the generational learning styles of students and to adjust curricula/syllabi accordingly. Knowledge and information aren’t the only things that get updated with time, learning and teaching styles are directly affected as well.
Education in Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka there is a disparity in the infrastructure and facilities of education between state-run schools and international schools. With state schools depending on government funding that may be limited, not all schools may have the facilities required to fully accommodate newer teaching methods like nano-learning. However, international/private schools that are dependent on school fees to offer their services might be able to apply newer teaching methods.
Many international schools follow international curriculums that may require them to utilise nano-learning techniques. They can also provide students with smart learning facilities that allow teachers to easily use multimedia (i.e., video content, presentations, etc) to teach their subjects in a more engaging manner. Lyceum International School utilises smart learning and modern teaching techniques to ensure all students get the best quality education.
Teacher and Student
It is also important for schools to encourage strong teacher and student cooperation. Teachers should understand who the student is and what kind of teaching is required to help them learn and pass exams. Utilising new teaching techniques and making the learning experience engaging for the modern student is crucial for educational success.
Learning during Crisis
Another factor that may have affected students’ learning styles was online education during the global pandemic, and in Sri Lanka, youngsters had to learn from home due to the devastating economic crisis. Online education became a staple for many schools during this time, teachers may have utilised nano-learning techniques to ensure the student remain engaged despite learning from home.
With time nano-learning may be the new norm as newer generations are more comfortable with social media and tech. The world seems to be moving in this direction, and Sri Lanka may have to follow suit to ensure our young minds are nurtured up to similar standards.
When creating curricula, education institutes should take the needs of the current generation into account. Younger generations like Gen Z (the TikTok generation) and Gen Alpha who were born during the same time as the introduction of the iPad, are more tech-dependent as both generations have grown up in a technologically advanced world.
But, the real question is are younger humans’ attention spans really declining or are they becoming more adept at catching on to information and learning faster because of technological advancement?