Training or Multitasking?

Students, you have a problem. I see it frequently, and when in online classes, I can tell when it’s happening, and it almost always happens.

The problem is that you are trying to pay attention to your training, but you’re also trying to get work done. You are being sent to this training class because the people you work for have decided that this is very important stuff for you to learn, it’s just not so important that they are willing to let you focus on it.

Look, I get it. I’ve been in your shoes. When I went off somewhere to attend training, that meant there was no one in the office to cover the work I would normally be there to do. Especially when you are trying to get your whole team trained on new technology. If they are all at training, no one is back to handle the “emergencies” that come up in the office, and there are always “emergencies”. So, you wind up with one eye on training and one eye on your email or your office VPN connection. Of course, as every study out there will show you, no one can truly multitask. If you only have one eye on training, you are not getting the most benefit from your training. You will be only partly involved in the class. That is just a fact, no matter how good you think you are at multitasking. Even the best multitaskers will miss some.

Think of it this way, when you are fully involved in a training class you are doing more than watching the clicks. You should also be actively thinking about how the technology works, what you would be using those features to accomplish, how they fit into your current workflow, and where you might be able to make changes to your workflows. You can’t be focused on these thoughts if you are also answering emails or doing work while the class is going on.

For employers, I also get it. When the whole team is off somewhere and you need something done, it’s easy to simply reach out by email and ask them to help you out with something while they’re in class. Just understand that every time that you do that, a kitten dies. Ok, no. But every time you do that, you are taking their attention away from the training. You know, the training you spent so much money on. Seems like a waste to spend the budget on training and then undermine the training by distracting the folks who are supposed to be learning.

Have you ever gone to training only to wind up multitasking and getting less than the full experience?

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