Best Learning Tools for Those with Short Attention Spans

Artem Zavyalov
May 17, 2017 · 5 min read
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“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”

― Albert Einstein

Today’s students are different than any generation before them. They thrive on technology and have extremely short attention spans. Instructors and teachers often struggle to get learners to sit still long enough to get through a complete lesson. Thankfully, more and more learning tools are being designed with tomorrow’s learners in mind. They deliver bite-sized content to students, which holds their attention better and increases learning overall. Below are some of the top learning tools that cater to distracted learners.

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Content from Highbrow is delivered straight to your inbox every morning. You can run through five minute lessons over your morning coffee to keep you sharp and informed. Courses are offered over ten days on a wide variety of subjects. You can only do one course at a time, which helps learners increase their retention and make them more likely to stick to a particular course. Highbrow offers over 300 courses, so there is bound to be something for everyone.

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Does it seem like you have no time for learning? But what about during your commute, while running, or when doing housework? Listenable is a mobile app that helps you learn new things through audio while you’re doing something else. In the app, you can build your learning playlist and listen to 5-minute audio lessons screen-free, anytime, anywhere.

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Tinycards is just like the name suggests — they are small flashcards used to quickly learn about a variety of areas. They have premade flashcards or you can make your own as well. They work well for studying for exams or learning something entirely new. You flip through the cards online and the program will periodically test your knowledge regarding the subject matter of the cards. It’s easy to use and entertaining as well.

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Blinkist offers nonfiction books that are packed into 15 minute lessons. The lessons are offered as an app, and you have the option to either read or listen to the lessons. The books cover a wide range of topics — from professional development to science. Users can start with a free trial, but they may have to pay for services as well.

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This interesting learning tool offers you information in a Q&A format. You simply ask it a question and it will give you a response. You then have the option of learning more after you have the answer or letting it know that the answer was not quite what you had in mind. This chat-based tool is available everywhere, without downloading an app. It can help with equations, definitions, plotting graphs, and helping you locate information.

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If you want to learn about computer science through an app, Mimo is the place to do it. Mimo teaches several coding methods and you can take the learning experience with you. You can learn about building websites and databases through an interactive learning platform that allows you to move at your own pace. It is great for beginners and more advanced learners.

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Primer is geared to business professionals or aspiring entrepreneurs. It offers small, bite-sized lessons about the subjects that matter most to businesses, like building a website, how customers think, and advertising methods. This app delivers lessons in five-minute chunks that also feature interactive activities to help increase learning and retention. You can even have condensed versions of the lessons and save portions of the lessons for later use. It works well for busy business owners and entrepreneurs.

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If you want a programming challenge, Enki can help. Enki provides five minute “workouts” to challenge your programming skills and increase your knowledge base. Users can unlock challenges by completing workouts (lessons). These challenges allow users to practice and test their skills. Learning is fun with this game-inspired programming app.

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Py offers free courses focused on various subjects, from programming to subjects in the humanities. The app makes it easy to learn on your commute. You can track your progress through specific lessons and perform various interactive challenges that vary depending on the subject area. Learning and practicing your skills then allows you to earn points and level up within the app.

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Artem Zavyalov

Written by

Co-founder at Highbrow. Blog about edtech, self development, startups, growth, marketing, product development.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +719K people. Follow to join our community.

Artem Zavyalov

Written by

Co-founder at Highbrow. Blog about edtech, self development, startups, growth, marketing, product development.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +719K people. Follow to join our community.

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