Microcontent: narratives and attention

How do online courses engage learners?

Alan Levine explores this issue in a post titled Seeking Answers: Can a Narrative Tie a Course Together? (link). He asks “what would it take to apply a storytelling approach in courses outside ones about storytelling”.

Alan’s discussion has its roots in his experiences, with Jim Groom, in the course ds106 (link). Alan’s post and the ds106 archive will help with your thinking about narrative in course design, delivery and experience.

As you contemplate Alan’s questions, you might like to refer to Phillipp Lorenz_Spreen and his colleagues’ (2019) paper Accelerating dynamics of collective attention (link). In it they consider “increasing gradients and shortened periods in the trajectories of how cultural items receive collective attention”. Their paper considers the existence of “individual topics receiving shorter intervals of collective attention”. This is an important issue for designers of courses that seek to engage interest remotely.

For a brief introduction to attention span, you might like Dalmeet Singh Chawla’s The Global Attention Span Is Getting Shorter (link).

After reading these items, what might your reply to Alan be?

Photo Credit

Photo by Dieter de Vroomen on Unsplash