5 huge reasons online learners disengage

It’s a long list.

Just think of all the things that can potentially distract our learners during a webinar.

Text messages. Social media. Work emails. Dating apps. And more!

But are those things really the root causes of their lack of engagement? What if we could design our virtual trainings in a way that made learners far less susceptible to those distractions?

That’s exactly what this blog will help you do. Your learners will stay focused on what you’re teaching them, they’ll remember it vividly, and they’ll put it into practice.

First, we need to combat these five major factors that lead online learners to tune out…

1. Control Issues

It’s natural. We all want to feel in control.

But when we try and control everything as trainers, and we don’t allow participants to be in control of their learning process, they’re less receptive to what we’re teaching. That's where the “CIO” social component of learning comes in.

If we give our participants choices, they feel in Control, which helps them feel Included, which helps them become Open to learning.

So what are some ways you can give participants choices in a webinar?

It could be as simple as allowing them to choose whether they want to text chat or unmute their mics, allowing them to have their webcams on or off, inviting them to print out their handout or use the fillable PDF version, etc.

2. Difficult Participants

Which one do you encounter most often?

The late comer? The know-it-all? The prisoner? The e-annoyer? The socializer? The withdrawn? Others?

Regardless of what their difficult behaviors look like, all difficult participants have one thing in common…

They interfere with their learning and the learning of others. But there’s good news.

You can prevent most difficult behaviors by learning how to overcome this next threat…

3. Failing to Involve Participants

Think of all the random things you’ve done to kill time during a boring webinar.

Empty the dishwasher? Do laundry? Change a dirty diaper?

If we don't involve our participants regularly, they'll disengage from our training and start multitasking.

So how can you do that?

Invite them to type in the chat box, type/draw/stamp on the screen, take notes in their handout, discuss the content in breakout rooms, be looking for something specific while watching a video, “match each description with the right superhero,” etc.

4. Appearing Disorganized

It’s not enough for us to know our content inside and out.

If we don’t know how to use the webinar tools seamlessly, or if we are running behind timing wise, we lose credibility in the participants’ minds.

With that, be sure to practice using the tools ahead of time, and always have a detailed flow of how long each section of content should last.

5. Lecture-Style Training


Remember, super trainers are instructor-led participant-centered. Lecture is instructor-led instructor-centered, which decreases engagement and retention.

Never lecture for more than 10 minutes at a time in a classroom, and never more than five minutes at a time in a webinar. When that time is up, it’s time to involve our learners.

Beyond those five threats, what are some other threats that harm your virtual trainings? How can you overcome those threats?

Be sure to keep an eye out for other blogs in this series, giving you even more tips to help you become a virtual super trainer!

Never miss a post! Get blogs and more delivered directly to your inbox.

arrow-right Sign Up