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Aussie Willy
07-07-2010, 03:50 AM
Is it really appropriate during a training session to be surfing the internet and checking your personal email?

I attended a training course over the last couple of days which the person sitting next to me kept checking her email, bank account, general surfing whilst the trainer was conducting the session, instead of following what was going on in the training.

There was access to the internet, but unless it is on a break and you ask the trainer if you can use it, then I don't think it is really appropriate and is quite rude and disrespectful.

Or have times changed that it is kind of the done thing these days?

Erica Lee
07-07-2010, 04:10 AM
I've not been in a training situation where this has happened, but I have been in similar situations in a lot of university lectures (of varying levels) and it happens all the time. I do it sometimes myself.

In any type of passive learning situation, you're going to have people mentally checked out, especially after the limits of one's attention span are reached. Many choose to divide their attention and this is not a phenomenon specific to technology - it's just a new method to deal with the same old problem. Daydreaming, doodling, etc are similar self-distraction methods and have nothing to do with technology. People have always been doing it.

Personally, I am still listening to the instructor when I do such things. Certainly not with my full attention, but I am still picking up key details and will "tune back in" when I hear something I figure is relevant to me. But if a lecture/lesson/session is not fully engaging me, I often have to find ways to keep my mind active lest I start getting sleepy. If I'm fully rested and alert, I find I do it less. If the session is more interactive, engaging and fast-paced, I don't do it at all.

I'm not saying it's a completely appropriate thing to do... but I do understand why people do it. I've been on the other end of things and have been the presenter with people doing it to me... and yeah, it can come off as disrespectful - but it's also a hint to me that maybe I need to change gears or design a better session so that people don't feel the need to do that.

Anita18
07-07-2010, 04:25 AM
Ditto about the self-distraction methods. I've read about studies that actually claimed people who doodled during meetings actually remember more of the meeting. But it's a different thing from reading things on the Internet. :lol:

My friend, when she was in law school, would often surf the Internet during large lectures, and chat with me online. :lol: Sometimes she would tell me that someone in front of her was shopping online. :lol: Obviously you can't do that in a discussion class, and I would find it rude in a small setting when you're supposed to be actively participating in a group.

But if it's a lecture-type thing where you're being talked at and you need to keep awake somehow, all methods are fair! :lol:

numbers123
07-07-2010, 04:37 AM
you don't say what kind of training session it was, but as someone who monitored training classes and attended them, it is not unusual for people to do this.


If my company sent me to a training class that I didn't want to go to or feel that I would gain anything new from, I might be checking my email or surfing. With SMART phones, no one really would know what you are doing. Do I think it is ethical? Not really, but I can understand the checking out of a training session especially if the lecturer is boring or monotone.

If it is a mandatory training with the same old, same old material to meet some regulatory agency's requirement, it is even harder to maintaining attention.

BigB08822
07-07-2010, 04:44 AM
As was mentioned, we don't know what kind of training this was but if it was pure lecture then this is probably more common than you think. I am back at school and last semester all my classes were lectures. I was constantly checking in to here and other websites. I would look around the class and 95% of the laptops were logged in to Facebook, that is no exaggeration.

Aussie Willy
07-07-2010, 05:12 AM
The training was an Excel course with 7 people. All the computers were set up so the screens were facing the middle of the room so you could see what everyone was doing on their computers. It was only two half days.

It wasn't at my workplace but with an external provider. All the people attending would have had their companies paying for them to attend and everyone was doing it to improve their work skills.

overedge
07-07-2010, 05:19 AM
As was mentioned, we don't know what kind of training this was but if it was pure lecture then this is probably more common than you think. I am back at school and last semester all my classes were lectures. I was constantly checking in to here and other websites. I would look around the class and 95% of the laptops were logged in to Facebook, that is no exaggeration.

And those 95% are going to get a big surprise when the material that they were tuning out on is on the exam, or when some future employer assumes that they know the material because it was in a course that they have credit for.

I totally agree that some lecturers are snoringly dull, but that doesn't mean that the audience has to completely disengage from the material.

Really
07-07-2010, 05:38 AM
So, AW...if you were 'fully engaged' in the training, how do you know the others were browsing and checking email?

genegri
07-07-2010, 06:01 AM
When my team and I give trainings, I have noticed people do it to us often. I don't have a problem with it. It's more than normal these days. They don't need to wait till break and they most certainly don't have to ask for my permission to check their email. My take is if I was offended by that, I would be in the wrong business.

And when I attend trainings, I check and answer my emails and do other low level work from time to time when it hits a lull. I try not to do intense work, like running analysis or compose long emails to the big boss. Sometimes I would tell the trainer that it might look like I am working but I am actually taking notes of her lecture. :lol:

Aussie Willy
07-07-2010, 06:18 AM
So, AW...if you were 'fully engaged' in the training, how do you know the others were browsing and checking email?
Their screen was right next to mine. You couldn't help but see it. So did the trainer. I did find it distracting.

However if you were training someone and they kept checking the internet, how would you feel?

But I am also asking the question if these days it is an acceptable thing. Sounds like it is from the responses here.

Really
07-07-2010, 01:15 PM
I teach junior high students. If they're not engaged, they're the fastest to 'check out'. It happens regularly in meetings, conferences. It may be a lack of interest on the part of the participants, it may be a lack of dynamic presentation -- the engagement factor, or it just may be that the person who has checked out already has the skills in question and is only there because they have to be.

I'm still not sure how what someone else was doing on a machine next to you could be distracting if you were focused on your own work.

milanessa
07-07-2010, 01:19 PM
I'm still not sure how what someone else was doing on a machine next to you could be distracting if you were focused on your own work.

I agree. Unless someone is poking you in the ribs saying "look at this" or they're singing along to a music video I really don't see why you care.

Stormy
07-07-2010, 01:28 PM
It probably is more common than you think, AW. If I was the trainer, and this was happening, I'd just think that the person is an adult and their choice to pay attention or not. I wouldn't call them out on it. It's not junior high. Maybe the person next to you knew the material and was bored. I don't know. It sounds like it was distracting to you because you were offended that they weren't paying attention and you were (or were trying to). What they do in their training time is their problem, not yours. Maybe a little bit of MYOB was appropriate in this case? Whether it's "appropriate" or not, it's your choice to pay attention and get as much out of the course as you can....just like it's the choice of the person next to you to not do so.

Hedwig
07-07-2010, 01:36 PM
It probably is more common than you think, AW. If I was the trainer, and this was happening, I'd just think that the person is an adult and their choice to pay attention or not. I wouldn't call them out on it. It's not junior high. Maybe the person next to you knew the material and was bored. I don't know. It sounds like it was distracting to you because you were offended that they weren't paying attention and you were (or were trying to). What they do in their training time is their problem, not yours.
ITA with that.

Why is it distracting to you if other people chose not to get everything out of the course? That does not hinder you.

Just let them be and don't waste your energy to be offended or distracted by it.

Norlite
07-07-2010, 02:30 PM
If I had been in AW's position would I notice? Yeah, I would, I tend to notice everything that's going on, particularly in a work situation I'm always aware of everything going on around me.

Would it distract or bother me? No. I'm not that easily distracted even if aware.