5 Digital Distractions Every L&D Pro Should Know About

5 Digital Distractions Every L&D Pro Should Know About
Summary: Read about digital distractions in L&D and how to avoid them to keep learners fully engaged.

What Are Some Common Digital Distractions During eLearning?

People tend to get easily distracted these days, thanks to smartphones always being within reach. In a work setting, meetings, deadlines, emails, and messages with coworkers may even prevent employees from making online learning their priority. As an L&D professional, the goal is to create content that grabs their attention and holds it long enough for them to absorb the information. But what are some digital distractions that you should know about, and how can you overcome them?

5 Digital Distractions You Should Be Aware Of

1. Social Media

You check Facebook and Twitter, and before you know it, an hour has passed. We use social media on average about two hours a day, which probably means that some of the time we spend on social media and our phones is during work hours. Instead of tackling tasks, including training, employees might be turning their attention to watching YouTube videos or checking LinkedIn comments. That said, you can use this to your advantage and incorporate social learning activities into your program.

2. Work Communications

Whether they're working remotely or in the office, employees are bombarded with emails, virtual meetings, and messages from the apps they use to communicate with their coworkers. Workplaces are fast-paced and require constant interactions between members of various teams. However, when an employee sits through an online lesson and receives an email or a meeting invitation, they will turn their attention to that matter, completely abandoning what they were doing before.

3. Multitasking

Employees tend to multitask. That's how they've learned to work, and that's how they do other tasks, like online training. For example, they may think that it's not a big deal if they have the lesson playing in the background while they're sending an important email. Or they may interrupt their virtual simulation to talk with a client. Ultimately, multitasking fragments the employees' attention and disrupts their learning process.

4. Notifications

The notifications in question don't necessarily come from social media. A shopping app may notify them about new sales. The weather app may warn them about a storm. A game on their phone might remind them that it's time to collect their daily reward. Distracting notifications can be endless, and unless employees are truly invested in the learning process, they will find it hard to resist. One option is suggesting that they put their phone in flight mode, if possible, during the training process.

5. Confusing Lesson Design

External distractions can't be controlled in some cases. But what about internal attention-grabbers? A messy eLearning design can diminish productivity and cause employees to turn their focus elsewhere. A crowded layout with sidebars, menus, and ads that take up space can be quite distracting. Material that's unclear or vague is also an issue. However, the tips you'll find below can help you streamline your design and help your learners concentrate on the training task at hand.

How To Reduce Digital Distractions

Create Tasks With A Timer

Consider creating a little challenge for your learners. Design a task that requires their full attention for a short period of time in order for them to proceed with their training. For example, set up a timer for ten minutes inside a lesson or task. If they leave the platform, switch to another tab, or do not move their mouse in those ten minutes, they have to redo the lesson. The purpose of this isn't to micromanage them but to help them maintain their focus.

Simplify The Design

Employees are overwhelmed by information from various sources, and you don't want your course's design to cause sensory overload. Try a minimalist approach with neutral colors and clear navigation icons. This infuses a bit of zen into the learning experience so that they won't be tempted to check their emails to see if new orders have come in or if a client has responded. Essentially, the design of your course should reflect your learners' headspace, and decluttered courses put them in the right frame of mind.

Create Engaging Content

The last thing employees want is to leave their important tasks aside and take boring online lessons. So, create content that appeals to them and their personal interests or goals. For example, infographics or a gamified lesson will keep them engaged versus asking them to read an online manual. You can even use Virtual Reality for your employee training to increase immersion and facilitate hands-on experience.

Personalize The Online Training Experience

Design a course driven by your learners' experience, background, performance, and knowledge gaps. You can also get their feedback or extract data from previous lessons, like login stats or participation and bounce rates, and create something that suits your audience's needs and preferences. A personalized online training experience can eliminate digital distractions and prompt them to concentrate on the subject matter.


Distractions have become more prevalent as many aspects of our lives have been digitalized. From social media to confusing lesson designs, employees may have a difficult time focusing on their training. Fortunately, there are ways to liven up the experience and alleviate cognitive overload so that they won't stray from their training sessions. One of the best options is to hire an outsourcing partner to help you create immersive learning experiences that stick. Our top list features the leading content providers for all your VR and AR training needs.