Training Webinars: Hack Your Habits
There was an interesting Lifehacker post today on the impact of environment on productivity. The linked Hack College post focused specifically on studying, which got me thinking about the many trainers we work with. You all have the unique challenge of creating a productive learning environment for yourself and – blindfolded – for a virtual classroom filled with students who are miles or worlds away.
Start at home. Or the office, or wherever you’re teaching from. Sure, your webinar software should let you mute participants to minimize background noise, but that’s the easy and obvious fix. Paper shuffling, coffee gulping, office background noise, even a static-y headset can all grate on your students over time. Create a quiet environment for yourself, and share that peace with your students.
You’ve set up a functional workspace for your event – computers and phone lines at the ready, backup copies of instructional materials just in case, glass of water, etc. Your students are everywhere. Can you take a few moments at the beginning of your class to help them create a similarly functional environment? Invite them to consider a question key to the topic at hand while taking two or three minutes adjust their environments for productive learning. (Get a coffee, clear the desktop, shut the office door….)
In a webinar format, this is a frequent concern for trainers – how to keep the many and varied distractions pulling at students from disrupting the learning process. It doesn’t hurt to ask, for starters. Students are in your class for a reason – whether mandatory content, perceived value or otherwise – so appeal to their good intentions. Commit to the timeframe (and honor it) and ask that they do the same by shutting down their inbox and IM, switching off their mobiles, setting office lines to DND and closing office doors.
Have a trick for creating a productive webinar learning environment? We’d love to hear your comment.