SMS, emails, WhatsApp messages, Skype calls. There is a lot of competition for the attention of those taking part to a training program or a workshop. So, what can be done to address this type of disturbance and capture the attention of the learners?
One of the main answers lies into active participation, in turn leading to high involvement and ownership of the course by participants. Participation has to be meticously planned and organised by the event organisers throughout the course. The fist step I would recommend is to set the rules together with the participants.
The facilitator should resist the temptation to set the rules him/herself but rather discuss and agree upon those in collaboration with participants. This can be done by asking question such as « What does it takes to work efficiently during a training program », « How can we make the best of this training program? », « How can we maximise the resources that are being mobilised for this event? », « How can we work best together? » etc
Participants’ answers should be captured on a flipchart and posted somewhere quite visible in the training room. Participants should be asked to commit to these rules and exceptions discussed as needed. Trainer and participants alike can refer back to those rules as necessary during the event.
I have found this technique very useful time and again and I can recommend it.