Fostering Reading Habits in the Digital Age
March 21st, 2022
Students are spending more time online than ever before. They are a part of online lectures, seminars, society socials, and even catch up with friends without ever leaving home. However, the increasing dependency on technology seems to be affecting more than just their attention span.
Reading on an internet-enabled device can be highly distracting. In fact, 90% of students believe that they are more likely to multitask while reading digitally. There is also a growing concern that if students rely heavily on shallow reading, it may interfere with their development of deep reading skills, such as thoughtful pondering, critical analysis, and inferential thinking.
Then came the pandemic, and the only way to reach out to the world and access education was online. Today’s youth is characterized by a need for instant gratification, something that is more easily achieved through video than reading long text. Against this backdrop, how do we nurture a reading mindset?
Evolving Content Consumption Patterns
When students scroll through the content on their mobile screens, they easily get hooked because the content is designed in such a manner. However, the bigger issue is not that they are not spending less time online, but they are spending less time per piece of content. Educators are well aware of this phenomenon, and they are trying to adopt innovative methods so that students stay engaged with learning content for longer.
The increasing use of technology has offered its fair share of benefits as well. According to a recent survey, 79.31% of teachers felt that their students rely heavily on technology. But, they believe that this reliance has an advantage as well. In fact, 68.97% of these students were familiar with some form of research/learning models, such as dictionaries, nonfiction texts, alternative games, or exercises. Thus, technology can elicit high student interest, while allowing them to engage in their learning at multiple levels. It can help students become self-sufficient learners in and out of the classroom.
Technology has connected students across the world and provided them access to crucial learning resources. Now is the time to build on this.
Digital as an Aid to Nurture Readers
With the rapid merger of technology and the Internet, this industry can bring about several positive changes among students. As far as nurturing them into lifelong readers is concerned, digital publishers can play a vital role.
Here are the common challenges students face that reduce their enthusiasm about reading:
1. Takes Too Long to Find Relevant Content
Students are becoming increasingly impatient. They get bored very easily. So, it is important to create and deliver diverse and personally relevant content. The more the content is personalized, the more it can keep them engaged. This is where the personalized learning model comes in.
Under this model, students receive a customized learning experience, so that they can learn at their own pace, with structure and support in challenging areas. If the content is aligned with their interests, needs, and skills, they will be more likely to read it through. Thus, a learning environment needs to be created while keeping in mind the tastes and preferences of the digital natives.
2. Heavy Text and Passive Reading
Another way to encourage reading is to let students actively participate in the learning process. If the content appeals to the innate curiosity in the young mind, it can retain their attention for longer. This means that learning content needs to be interactive so that students no longer are passive recipients of the information.
This can be achieved by integrating multimedia, interactive, and gaming elements into the content. It will help students become active participants in their own learning journey.
3. Limited Access to Reading Materials
In the traditional learning model, students often had to wait until they were in class or when teachers were available to ask questions or resolve doubts. But eLearning solutions allow 24/7 access to learning. Students can conveniently download eBooks and then read them offline, from anywhere, at any time. Additionally, learning materials in multiple languages can be created to engage those who are predominantly non-English speakers.
A virtual learning environment with flexible access to resources works in favor of students. Not only does it make learning materials more accessible, but it also takes students 40%-60% less time to learn compared to a traditional classroom setting because they can learn at their own pace.
4. Long-Form Text is Confusing and Boring
The current generation is said to have a limited attention span. So, they should be served more information in fewer words. This is where micro-learning can help. It is an effective way to engage students since it offers bite-sized learning units. These units include only the necessary pieces of information.
Thus, they can be more engaging, less time-consuming, and cheaper to produce methods of publishing. A study revealed that this kind of learning can increase information transfer by 17% and ensure a better understanding of the subject. This is so because it allows students to casually learn the topics in their spare time and even quickly review concepts. These small learning units can fit right into the low attention span.
5. Learning Does Not Apply to Real Life
Students will be more willing to participate in learning if they can connect with what is being taught to them. So, they should be taught concepts in such a way that allows them to apply what has been learned to real-life settings. If students can actually see how the concept works to solve problems, they will be more inclined to learn about it.
Even in a world with such advanced technology, it is important to cultivate a habit of reading. Do you believe that carving out time for students is easier said than done? We at MagicBox can ease this process for you.