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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Attention and Adaptation in the Digital Era


One, one thousand.

Two, one thousand.

Three, one thousand.

Where are you going with this?  

Four, one thousand.

Five, one thousand.

Ahem, I have more important things to do. 

Six, one thousand.

Seven, one thousand.

Get to the point!!! 

Eight, one thousand. Done!

The point is to illustrate—in words only—the interval of eight seconds.

Why? Because eight seconds is the average attention span of a North American, revealed last year in a study by Microsoft Corp.

It’s now shorter, they tell us, than the attention span of a goldfish. (But when you think about it, goldfish really don’t have too many demands on their time, do they?)

Why Are Attention Spans Shrinking?

Down from an attention span of 12 seconds (as measured in the year 2000), this change is most likely due to the fact that we have adapted to the Internet, our mobile gadgets, and our nearly constant connectivity. We have an ever-increasing amount of new information to identify, sort, understand, and integrate.

Our brain’s first task is simple gatekeeping—that is, deciding what information is important, and should be ‘let in the gate,’ and what should be kept out. As the flow of information becomes heavier and more constant, of course our brains must adapt. Hence, shorter attention spans, or to put it another way, quicker gatekeeping.

(As you read the opening to this blog, your own ‘gatekeeper’ saw the pattern and was probably nudging you to skip ahead, or bail out completely.)

Our Response to Shrinking Attention Spans

Of course this trend is changing many things, including online training. At The Center for Sales Strategy, we recognized this trend and in 2012, we rolled out our first “microlearning” course: The Digital What and Why

Since then, we’ve added to the series, with courses covering Analytics, Search, Social Media, and Mobile. And we continue to develop new material, as the digital landscape changes.

The result is an amazing way for you to learn about new digital technology—and to learn it in the style that digital technology has shaped. 

Learn the Information You Need to Sell Digital, in Bite-Sized Chunks

In case you have only been skimming this blog, here are some bullet points that science tells us you probably will read:

  • Shorter attention spans impact many things, including online training.
  • Microlearning is a training method focusing on quick, specific bursts of info.
  • The Center for Sales Strategy has been creating microlearning since 2012!
  • The Digital What and Why answers the two most basic questions concerning new digital technologies: “What is it?” and “Why is it important?”
  • Each topic takes only 2 to 5 minutes of your time.
  • The courses are mobile friendly, so you can watch them on the go.
  • There is very little reading involved, so all you have to do is watch and listen.
  • The material can be accessed at any time, day or night.
  • The material can be re-accessed whenever you need a refresher.

Learn more about The Digital What and Why series here, and view a video that will give you a taste of what the courses are like!

Digital What and Why

Topics: Sales sales training