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5 Tips for Preventing Distractions to Learning

Posted by Lynne Koltookian on 12/2/13 3:00 AM
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Recently I had a family member spend some time in the hospital. During this time, I quickly realized that a hospital may be the worst place to recover from an illness or injury. Due to constant interruptions it can be almost impossible to get some much needed rest. First of all, you may have a roommate that is noisy and talkative, if you’re not lucky enough to have a private room. Then you have to contend with doctors, nurses, and housekeeping barging in on you at all times of the day. Finally, you may have family and friends who want to come visit you and drop off flowers and gifts. With this constant stream of people and disruption, it’s hard to fathom actually leaving the hospital feeling better than when you arrived!

When it comes to learning, we, trainers, have to do everything we can to prevent interruptions to the learning process. We want to control the environment as best we can to prevent distractions. In our How Adults Learn workshop we talk about creating a positive learning environment. This statement means many things. It certainly means having comfortable seating arrangements, refreshments, and proper room temperature, but it means other things as well.

Here are five tips to help you prevent distractions in your classroom:

1. Keep your training room door closed with a sign outside that reads, “Class in progress—Do Not Disturb.”
2. Review course guidelines at the start of your class to ensure that cell phones are set to “off” or “vibrate.”
3. Use a flip chart or tape a piece of paper on the wall, designating it as your “parking lot.” This is where you can place off-topic questions,ensuring that your training is not pulled off course.
4. Set up and check all audio/visual equipment before class begins to avoid any technical surprises.
5. Request that management and employees do not interrupt learners during class time, unless it is an emergency.

Learning takes effort and time in an environment free of distractions. Once we set a system in place that creates a “no distraction zone” in our classrooms, we are well on our way to creating that positive and successful learning environment.

What do you do to prevent distractions in your classroom?

Dealing with Difficult Participants



Lynne has been a course leader with Langevin since 2007. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Penn State University and a Master’s degree in Education from Boston University. After working many years in human resources and sales, Lynne transitioned into training, her true passion, where she’s been facilitating since 1994. Her training philosophy is simple—learning should be fun! The essence of a good instructor is someone who can make complex things easy to understand and fun to learn. In her free time, you’ll find Lynne cycling, hiking, downhill skiing, and scuba diving.

Topics: instructional techniques, instructor-led training, tips-for-trainers

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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