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32 - Bubble of Concentration: Desktop Distractions; Tips for Trainers: Semi-Random Access

1. Bubble of Concentration: Desktop Distractions. One of the key factors that we are currently studying is the ability of people to concentrate at their desktops. In an ever increasingly distraction driven work setting,
there is a paradox about the desktop. More and more people want their workers to be able to learn at their desks rather than in the classroom. Yet, the office or cubicle is often structured to be interrupt driven. In one of our recent surveys, we found that most employees get interrupted at least once every 15 to 20 minutes, with some reporting rates of once every five to ten minutes. Can people stay focused enough to learn? The challenge is to build a "Bubble of Concentration". Imagine this as a sphere of concentration that is created by either the engagement levels of the learner or by management intervention. The latter is accomplished at a
number of companies by designating a Do Not Disturb Period of two hours per day. In that period, the telephones don't ring and the culture is set to discourage visits from colleagues to your workstation. In other
environments, there are signs or even balloons that signal a person in a learning mode, thus broadcasting their desire to stay concentrated.

However, the bulk of the building of the "Bubble of Concentration" will be on the shoulders of both the learner and the instructional designer. Learners who are deeply engaged in meaningful programs will often have the ability to build their own virtual bubble. And, instructional designers need to both design for concentration and allow for interruption.

2. Tips for Trainers: Semi-Random Access. A quick tip for trainers in classroom settings. More and more of your students are getting used to having a mouse, to use to click to the segment or content of their choice. : Lately, I've been issuing a virtual mouse to learners in classroom settings. For example, list seven topics on the board in the front of the room and give folks the opportunity to call out the order and sequence they want. I know that this is difficult in very sequential content, but it does work. I even list 3 commands on the side of the board: More, Less or Stop! They can request those too as the class proceeds. This takes a big breath as a trainer, but can create an enormous level of energy and attention from your learners. And, it works!

3. 17,000 Training & Technology Viewers for TechLearn LIVE! Next Broadcast Scheduled! We were delighted that 17,000 of your colleagues participated in the first ever global broadcast for training and technology professionals on April 1st. Via satellite, video-conferencing and the internet, these 17,000 people watched a 3 hour talk show featuring: Tom Kalil (White House), Mike Parmentier (ADL Project - Dept of Defense), Nancy Lewis (Microsoft), Klaus Andersen (Oracle), John Prokop (Lotus), James Sharpe (IBM), Harvey Ollis (Dept of Labor), Steve Allen (Allen Communications) and Andy Fox (Real Networks). If you would like to see an archived copy of the broadcast go to

We are pleased to announce the date of the next TechLearn LIVE! It will be broadcast on Thursday, September 10th, 1998 from Noon to 3 PM (Eastern Time) There will be regional gatherings built around this broadcast. If you would like to volunteer as a host site, go to

4. A Fresh Look at Computer Training Event! There is a new program on The MASIE Center schedule. We will be offering a 2 day seminar focusing on the changing world of computer training. A Fresh Look at Computer Training will be offered in Washington, DC on June 22 and 23rd. Go to for details.

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