Mental Bandwidth

The Battle for Attention and Mental Bandwidth

Time. The scarcest and most valued resource we have in a society that quickly shifts into an always on, always connected stage of existence. Yet, a growing group of services is trying to get our attention, may it be for just a couple of minutes or even seconds.

Time. The one thing we cannot scale or elongate. Sure, we can try to getup earlier and go later to bed. We can stay connected on our commute, at the dinner table or at the party. But there is still a natural limit. 24 hours are the maximum of time we can allocate.

And every minute you allocate to a task won’t be available for another one. Sure, you can “multitask” and catch up with the latest news via radio while taking a shower, brushing your teeth or having breakfast. But there is only so much you can do in a minute.

As education provider, may it be in the form of private tutoring or offering a learning app or other service, you battle for that attention and mental bandwidth with that increasing group of other services. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, MOOCs, cat videos on YouTube, Buzzfeed, you name it.

So why should someone allocate time, the most valuable resource, to your offering and not to that of competitor? Why is it worth paying you with their scarcest resource and then maybe also paying you with their money on top? And how are you going to keep their attention over the coming weeks, months or years?

I think this might be one of the hardest tasks for education providers in the years to come. Simply stalking learners on the various social platforms won’t be enough. In the end education needs to be sticky, entertaining, community driven and above all worth the learner’s time.

  • Mau Buchler

    Absolutely. “Are you worth their time?” is all that matters. How much people pay is more about: “how easy can you make the payment process for me?”

  • Mark Soref

    Good questions as food for thought. We—teachers—have to make the educational experience meaningful and relevant for the participants! We can do this by offering choice and making students the agents of their education.

    EdTech tools can facilitate this choice and power.