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Etiquette when training

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Aussie Willy, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    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?
  2. Erica Lee

    Erica Lee New Member

    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.
  3. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    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:
  4. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    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.
  7. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    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.
    PDilemma and (deleted member) like this.
  8. Really

    Really I need a new title

    So, AW...if you were 'fully engaged' in the training, how do you know the others were browsing and checking email?
  9. genegri

    genegri Active Member

    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:
  10. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    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.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  11. Really

    Really I need a new title

    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.
    Angelskates and (deleted member) like this.
  12. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    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.
    Angelskates and (deleted member) like this.
  13. Stormy

    Stormy Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. Hedwig

    Hedwig WoolSilk Fanatic

    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.
  15. Norlite

    Norlite Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    Ditto. I usually will mentally check out (and god knows an Excel course would make me stop paying attention fairly quick) in a lecture situation. Chances are I've already got the information I need or will figure it out on my own--I don't learn listening to someone talk at me. (In the mandatory academic courses we had to take for culinary school because it was attached to a college I doubt I paid any attention at all. Still got As, because it's not like the material was difficult or really required any explanation beyond the book.)

    But then my job sends me to things where I'm making the presentation or manning the booth. There's not a lot of post-graduate lecture courses for our business.
  17. Veronika

    Veronika gold dust woman

    I'm a trainer--I have to yell at people when I see them online or on their phones.

    I'm salaried and train hourly staff, so I wouldn't be as comfortable yelling at someone if they were a peer or superior of mine.
  18. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    The trouble is that studies are showing that we are not as good at multitasking as we thing we are and we cannot read FSU and absorb other information as easily as we think we can.

    I always had students who thought they could do their Spanish homework and pay attention to the history discussion. And sometimes I let them. They were the ones who would say things in the test review session like "Where's this from? We never went over this." And I would respond something like this: "We spent a class period and a half on it and watched a video clip yesterday." The students would then ask what page it was on in the book. Oh. Too bad for them. It was one line in the book and I expanded on the topic in lecture and discussion and through the video, all of which they ignored.
  19. Prancer

    Prancer Strong and stable Staff Member

    Not necessarily. Tactile learners think better when doing something with their hands--and keyboarding counts for that. It would make a difference depending on how engaged the person was in the reading, but someone who is bouncing around on the internet isn't really focusing on what is on the screen.

    Most people hear only 30% of what is said in lecture. That's because the human brain works much faster than human speech, so everyone--not just people who are overtly doing something else--wanders mentally during lectures. The less engaging the lecture, the more the mind wanders. Sometimes it pretty much runs away and isn't there any more, leaving behind a mere shell of a person who is taking up a seat :p.

    That said......

    The entire point of having computers set up in a circle like that is to discourage people from surfing the internet when the trainer is talking. As a trainer, I would absolutely consider it rude, common or not, (not to mention the tapping of the keys can be a real distraction to others, whether users realize it or not), but it would be both unprofessional and counterproductive to treat a customer like a first grader and call them out on it.

    There is software out there that takes care of such problems in networked computers.
  20. altai_rose

    altai_rose Well-Known Member

    There's a reason while all medical school lectures at my school (and most schools in the US) are video recorded, and most students don't go to lecture--they watch the lectures on their computers with 2x audio-visual to speed it up. Saves time, and students can often get more out of it because they can pause or rewind something if they don't understand or mentally check out. Obviously, the lecturers really dislike this... but students also have to use the method they find best to learn.
  21. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    In this case, it doesn't sound like even blocking software was needed - the computers didn't need to be connected to the internet from the sounds of it.
  22. Veronika

    Veronika gold dust woman

    You'd be surprised...a lot of adult students revert to their high school/junior high selves when they are in a classroom environment.

    Though in my experience, it's the younger ones who tend to revert more quickly (fresher on the mind, perhaps?)
  23. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    That's also true, unless they were doing some kind of networked application.

    I can't focus on one task unless it's physical. I have to switch between things (multiple windows, a book, writing things down with a pen, etc) or I just get bored. Lectures were a horrible way to learn (fortunately very few of my professors really expected us to learn much in a lecture--tests were their way of catching who wasn't doing the assigned reading out of class, by and large.)
  24. KatieC

    KatieC So peaceful

    :lol: I've been known to revert to elementary high behaviour in train the trainer sessions, where I'm having to listen to my trainees give a portion of the training. The most boring trainee/trainer was a retired teacher - some of us started throwing a squishy ball around after making sure "teacher" wasn't looking! Of course, this was some time ago and I haven't done it lately, now when I'm bored in a training session I just doodle. If I start reading I'll still be sitting there with my nose in the book an hour after the training is finished.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  25. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Thanks for this point. I agree it is up to the trainer to comment and say something for the reason you said. However we can still have an opinion on whether we consider the behaviour of the person doing it is rude or not. It is a difference between what someone thinks and how someone reacts in response to someone's behaviour.
  26. GaPeach

    GaPeach New Member

    I only care when they mess with my training time by getting lost during the practical activites and holding up the rest of the class with their stupid questions. They were too busy texting/surfing and not paying attention while that portion of the class was being explained and now they don't understand what they are suppose to do. This is especially true with computer training.
    Nan and (deleted member) like this.