As a trainer I find it distracting when delegates are on their phones or laptops in sessions - and I believe it is disruptive to their own (and others) learning. The culture at my organisation seems to be slipping into this 'multitasking' in meetings and training sessions, and it's condoned by the senior leaders. Does anyone have any tips on how to manage it in my training sessions?

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  • Hi Caroline - any update on the approach you've decided to take?

    I came across this post earlier today and whilst not technology or gadget specific, it gives some great ideas around using social media to support learning and critical thinking.

    10 Terrific Social Media Classroom Uses That Encourage Critical Thinking
    Terry Heick from TeachThought shares 10 great social media classroom uses that move the tools beyond networking and into critical thinking territory.
  • Hi Caroline

    Totally agree with Ady on this one - I'd like to dig deeper though in terms of understanding why this behaviour is condoned by senior leaders. If someone is attending a training event there must be an outcome to this whether it's a performance or process change or even a behavioural change? If people are multi-tasking and not paying attention then surely this is impacting on their ability to 'learn' and meet the outcomes of the session....this then becomes ineffective and a greater cost to the business surely? 

    If they have other more important things to do than attend training then they must either do those things and give them their full attention or the training isn't required or important - I don't know these things but if a product isn't being used or you can't demonstrate value from a product then the product won't last long. Commercially what you're describing isn't sustainable.

    If it is only slipping in to this mode then there is still time to address it. I agree there are opportunities to embrace tech in the training room and this could be an option - it might mean re-designing elements of the events , alternatively strong contracting and expectation setting at the start of the session is really important. Respecting your time and the reason why they are there in the first place is crucially important and surely your senior leaders would condone this behaviour over the other?

    Ady has been on fire recently and has posted 2 posts that are relevant to this post I think - one around the digital learning debate

    And the other is around influencing stakeholders / senior leaders

    Both I think are relevant for your situation 

    Please do keep us posted with this as it's close to our hearts 


    Scrap the Digital learning debate?
    How can we make digital learning as effective as, or better than face to face? That was the question on last week’s #LDInsight discussion. My initial…
  • HI Caroline,

    The info I'm not sure as I'm writing this is what people are actually doing on those devices. Is it something that relates to what they're learning or not? Are they looking up information that relates to what they're learning about or is it the more unproductive stuff of discussing what's for tea with their other half or checking Facebook for what's happening at the weekend.

    If it's the latter, I think it's having that conversation up front at the beginning of the session. If the expectation is that devices shouldn't be used then set that up at the beginning, explain that devices can be used during breaks/luches etc. Encourage them to behave like the adults they are. You might still need to 'remind' people during the session, but generally I find that works.

    Having said that, more and more we're seeing technology being used for learning. Perhaps there's a chance to embrace this within the learning? For example, when on my CIPD programme with DPG, we often broke out into groups finding resources to help during activities. For example, in one session where we were looking at educational policies of different countries, we broke into groups and carried out the learning bit on our devices as a group. It was very powerful.

    What do you think?

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