With the recent shift to remote work there has been a significant rise in virtual meetings and virtual learning. No doubt you have heard phrases like “Zoom Fatigue” and may even experience it for yourself regularly. With active Covid-19 case numbers on the rise again in Ontario, our return to the office may be postponed longer than we’d like, prolonging the time when we can meet and learn together face-to-face.

Therefore, facilitators of learning content have had to get creative to offer their courses in a virtual format; some more successfully than others. Facilitators do their best to keep participants’ attention, but it can be difficult, especially after long hours of staring at a screen for meetings and regular work. With that said, this shift to learn online seems to be a trend that was growing long before the pandemic and isn’t going away anytime soon. Therefore, as participants, let’s do our part and get the most out of our online learning that we can! Here are 5 tips to take personal responsibility to keep yourself engaged and get the most out of your virtual training.

  1. Treat it seriously – You wouldn’t show up to an in-person training session in your pajamas, so don’t show up to your online training that way. Plus, research has shown that when your body is physically ready for work/learning, your brain is too.

  2. Don’t divide your attention – Easier said than done if you are working from home, I know, but as best as you can, eliminate distractions from your environment. Use headphones, take notes, put your phone on silent, close your email application, act as though you would if you were in a face-to-face training setting when it comes to paying attention.

  3. Set goals for your learning – Facilitators will present agendas and learning objectives for their training but what do you want to get out of it? Before the training session think about what you’d like to take away from the training. After the training, consider its implementation in your role and commit to what you would like to start, stop, or continue doing as a result of the training.

  4. Ensure you have a reliable Internet connection – Nothing can be more frustrating than catching every other word that is spoken, or missing the facilitator’s direction or discussion question. Having a reliable Internet connection will ensure that you don’t miss a moment of the action and that you can actively participate. Which brings us to #5!

  5. Participate! During the training, answer questions vocally, in the polling questions, and in the chat function, ask questions, and contribute to any brainstorming. Complete all pre and post work for your training session to maximize your learning during the training. Most importantly, don’t forget to turn your camera ON! All these things enhance the learning experience for you, as well as your colleagues and increases your retention of the content.

Increased virtual learning is the way of the future. Therefore, your approach to the time you spend learning is critical. Will you waste it? Or will you work together with your learning and development team as an active partner and participant to maximize the effectiveness of your virtual learning? The choice is yours.