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20Nov 2022


Posted by : Vineeta Garg
Category : Other
Date :

Half-Yearly exams were quite nearby. All teachers were busy completing the syllabus. Mr Sinha was also planning to complete his syllabus by this weekend so that students could get enough time for revision. He entered the class with full enthusiasm with an aim to complete the Physics topic on Thermodynamics. He prepared a beautiful presentation to capture the interest of students. The class started on a good note. All the students were excitedly listening to him trying to grasp the concepts. After fifteen passed he found that many of the students started losing interest.

“Akshat, tell me how heat energy gets transformed into mechanical energy in this experiment?” he asked. There was a complete silence in the class. Except for a few students, all the other students were sitting with long faces and looking totally blank. 

This made Mr Sinha reflect on what was not going right in his class. This had become an almost everyday scenario. Mr Sinha neither wanted to compromise on the learning of students nor on timely syllabus completion.

This situation resonates with most of us as educators and reminds us of our classrooms. We all as educators have encountered the situation faced by Mr. Sinha in our classrooms too and every time like Mr. Sinha left us pondering to understand and deeply reflect on the matter of disengagement of students while learning in class.

In this ever-evolving world of technology and gadgets, it has been observed that with the increased use of gadgets, individuals’ attention span to listen to and hold onto the information shared is decreasing significantly.

The notion that lectures should adhere to the 10- to 15-min attention span that is typical of current students is widely supported and propagated in the academic literature, which is referred to in various articles and books. According to Davis in the book Tools for Teaching, "student attention during lectures tends to decrease after around 10-15 minutes." Similar to this, Wankat  contends that "student attention has reached a low point after 10-15 minutes of a lecture, despite being high at the beginning." Benjamin claims that "when the lecture begins, most students are paying attention, and for most students, that attention lasts for around 10 minutes" in works dedicated to the psychologist Wilbert J. McKeachie. In Teaching Tips (8th Ed. ), McKeachie stated that "Attention normally improves from the beginning of the lecture to 10 minutes into the lecture and decreases after that point,” a sentiment still echoed by this author more than 20 yr later in the 14th edition of the book.[1]

With the decreasing attention span of students in classrooms, it is time for us as educators to RETHINK our teaching learning strategy for our students to address their diverse learning needs and to make our classrooms EQUITABLE and INCLUSIVE.

The concept of Micro and nano learning is apt to address this situation effectively. The word “Microlearning” can be fragmented as Micro+ Learning where micro refers to small and learning is the process of acquiring knowledge, skills, and values. In brief, we can say that microlearning is about creating learning opportunities to demonstrate knowledge and understanding in activities of two to four minutes.

At present 10-15 minutes long Microlearning sessions are being used as educational content by educators which must be reflected upon and reviewed to make it shorter learning engagement.

Considering the substantial decline in attention span of the learners especially after having enough exposure to screen time, the need to introduce Nano learning along with micro learning was felt. Nano learning is practiced to address the diverse learning needs along with the short attention span of the students. Nano learning experiences can be considered as knowledge and skills capsules that recapitulates or helps learners to learn the concept or acquire the subject specific skills.

This not only is an innovative way of teaching and learning but also an effective way to cater to the diverse learning needs of students by giving them equitable learning opportunities in the form of multimodality to blossom and bloom to make each classroom an INCLUSIVE classroom in its true essence.

Let us revisit Mr. Sinha’s class and employ microlearning and nano-learning pedagogy in his classroom and relive the learning experience from these lenses.

Half-Yearly exams were quite nearby. All teachers were busy completing the syllabus. Mr Sinha was also planning to complete his syllabus by this weekend so that students could get enough time for revision but he was also aware of the fact that how students’ attention span has decreased with excessive screen time during the pandemic.  He made some adjustments in his teaching learning style to suit his style according to the present needs of his students.  He adopted the approach of the Flipped classroom. He knew that this technology generation of learners have access to technology at home and an effective way to tune them into learning is to give them an engaging learning engagement related to technology. He had planned his learning session well. He divided his class into groups of 4-5 students each and had shared a few interesting short videos and simulation apps to learn or tune the student’s interest into the basics of Thermodynamics.  The assignment was followed by a choice board activity where students in groups had the freedom to express their understanding of the learning engagement assigned to them using the strategies mentioned on the choice board by Mr. Sinha.

He entered the class with full enthusiasm. This enthusiasm was infused in him by the energy level of his students. The students were eagerly waiting for him in class to demonstrate their understanding of the topics assigned to them. All students in their groups innovatively and creatively presented their part.

This way a strong foundation was laid for the unit Thermodynamics, and it was a great learning experience not only for students but also for Mr. Sinha.

Students created interactive quizzes or learning engagements which assessed and evaluated the understanding of other students to help Mr. Sinha understands the starting point of his classroom learning for this class.


  • Smaller Powerful Content- Tailoring content and concepts into small manageable chunks facilitates ease for understanding the content and concepts for the learners. This strategy takes advantage of the short-term information retaining capacity of the brain, which can retain small dense information for a very long period.
  • Quick to Generate and Update Content- With the help of flexible micro and nano learning templates, content and concepts can be quickly generated and updated with new information. Follow up in micro and nano learning is simpler and effective and can be used as a power recapitulation tool.
  • Effective and Efficient Learning- The small teaching learning capsule nature of micro and nano learning makes it possible not only for the educators to create quick content but also for the learners to achieve the same with greater enthusiasm and an attitude of goal achievement even for the learners that face learning difficulties or have short attention span.

Although the micro or nano learning approach is welcomed by both students and teachers it has certain limitations too. 


  • As the methodology of micro or nano teaching learning is new to educators also, it can fall flat if not implemented with accurate understanding of the same.
  • Micro teaching involves fragmenting the content into smaller bite sized chunks. Sometimes this fragmentation leads to disconnection and understanding the concept as a whole becomes challenging for students.

Micro or nano learning helps to augment learning methodology and can also be used with present learning approaches. There is no fixed rule as to when and how to use micro or nano learning approaches in the classroom. Educators need to analyse the classroom scenario and adopt the best practices to make learning accessible and equitable for all. 


1- Attention span during lectures: 8 seconds, 10 minutes, or more? | Advances in Physiology Education



Gunjan Tomar

Vineeta Garg



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