We live in a world full of distractions—a constant feed of information, noise and entertainment all at our finger tips. Each interruption gains control of our attention and productivity level. The result is a diminishing ability to focus and accomplish tasks. In a virtual learning environment, these ever-present distractions are particularly problematic.
Though virtual training is fast, powerful, flexible, and agile, it comes with its own set of unique challenges. Whether you are a trainer planning a virtual learning program, or are considering taking a remote class, here are some tips to make the most of your virtual learning experience:
Choose right devices and technology
So many virtual training courses tout the ability to train anywhere using any type of device. Before you pop open your laptop, tablet or phone in the middle of the coffee shop, consider how these devices either enhance or detract from the learning experience. Consider using dual monitor screens for training so that you can view courseware and presentation materials on one screen and interact with the instructor and classmates on the other. Likewise, use a noise-canceling headset so that you can tune out the environment and focus more on the learning at hand.
Make Sure You've Got Easy Access To Tech Support
There is nothing worse than dealing with technical problems during a virtual training class. To thwart any potential difficulties, ensure your hardware/software is up to par with class standards and recommendations. Research the appropriate technical support number and keep this number handy so you can jump back into the virtual classroom quickly.
Choose A Distraction-Free Setting
When choosing an appropriate space to learn, think about the potential distractions: background noise, other people, pets, neighbors, even a nice view can all disturb your concentration when you need to focus on learning. Home, office or coffee shop is not an ideal location to take virtual training—as each are filled with a host of potential distractions.
Make Sure You're Fueled Properly
There is a direct correlation between thirst/hunger and concentration. You may have heard of the term “hangry,” which means you are so hungry that the lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated, or both. However, before you reach for the candy bar, consider foods that elevate concentration, provide energy and promote mental function—such as high-protein, low carbohydrate snacks.
It is well-known fact that email is a productivity/learning killer. Resist all temptations to check email during training and designate breaks for this activity. Completely shut down email clients on your phone and other nearby devices—as seeing mail notifications are equally distracting. Like email, our phones are filled with a multitude of distractions--apps and texts that ding, beep and chime are all begging for an instant response. Make sure you turn off all non-essential notifications.
Clear Your Workspace
The full inbox, the report waiting to be reviewed, pile of papers needing to be filed—all of these are potential distractions to your training. If you must train at your office, remember the rule: out of sight, out of mind. Clear your entire desk before training—put your inbox tray in a drawer or closet, place open papers in a folder, cover whiteboards, etc.
With these few tips to eliminate distractions you can have a great virtual learning experience.
MicroTek has published many resources on virtual training, particularly as it relates to hybrid learning. Visit our Resources Page on our website to view the full library. Download our ebook below for more great best practices on virtual learning.