Friday, March 13, 2009

Skimming and zapping

In the age of homo zapiens it is not surprising to read that people tend not to read long texts any more. Just as we zap frenetically from channel to channel trying to find something worth watching, we also tend to click away from texts on the net that are too demanding. It's hard to catch a reader's attention on the net and even if you do you can bet that few will spend long reading your content.

This issue is discussed in a new post on Tony Karrer's blog eLearning Technology. Maybe we need to teach the skill of effective skimming to students in order to get the gist of an article and maybe, more importantly, we need to teach the skill of writing articles that are adapted for skim-readers. Even if you've written a brilliant study full of detailed argument it's important to highlight the essentials to catch the attention of those who are only willing to give your report a few short minutes of their time (see even an earlier post on his blog).

Are we becoming lazy readers/viewers forever zapping away from anything demanding or discomforting? Or are we simply finding new ways of coping with the information overload?

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