Peer Answers


31) Please set cell phones to "vibrate"


30) I would address the use of cell phone at the beginning of the session. If someone needs to use a cell phone they should exit the room so they don't disturb or distract the other participants.


29) I create a monetary pool- anyone who uses his/her phone during classtime needs to contribute a dollar--the amount adds up to a treat for the whole class or a 'social' hour contribution.


28) I work with mostly Gen X and boomers, and we have established a culture of respect where phones are left off or on silent for training sessions and meetings. Rather than mobile phones, I would be tempted to use something like Todaysmeet, where participants can use their laptops to talk about the training as it happens - because try as you might, some training sessions need a laptop to cover the content so you can't stop them looking at the internet / instant chatting etc. Or, rather than making them use SMS to communicate I would try making them use instant chat on a laptop - because at least that does'nt cost our company 15c per message sent!


27) Ask them to take it outside so as not to distract the other participants


26) Assuming I would not have content for access by students, I would ask them to use phones only for emergency calls until we could integrate the phone into the class content - for example, voting on their preferred method for some approach (typically I'm teaching an OD class).


25) I usually get everyone to agree to a "Group Contract" at the start and include items such as "one voice" etc , but always include "Phones off or on silent" . By getting everyone involved they take ownership and comply with the rules.


24) I tend to ignore it ... but might ask them to stop texting and pay attention. Perhaps I should ask for their number so I can text that mssg to them!


23) If it is txt msgs one-to-one use txt msgs in four wayr discussion with the 2 of the people across the room and two people F2F txting to the remote participants at the same time.

Debrief about the impact of the txts on the f2f discussion. What is it like to be talking to someone when they are txting?

You might also try a distracted training demo. I am not sure exactly what it would be but Distraction from cell phone extends a driver's reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (University of Utah)

If it is twitter use a class hashtag to allow the group to see the comments. You can find free powerpoint templates that allow the tweets to display on a screen.


22) xyz


21) Not sure it would be feasibel to incorporate into class. I would politely ask them to refrain from using. I would be concerned about people wanting to share their phone number, additional charges, etc.


20) I would observe that the use of text messaging seems to be a common channel of communication among these participants. Do they agree? If so, let's use the tool people feel comfortable with, and off we go. Pair people off, but they don't have to move around; just have to remember their partner's name. Pose a question, and "discuss" via text. One of the pair reports out for them. Or, go to a second round, new pairs, etc. When it comes time to debrief, ask for the electronic devices to be turned off because discussion has ended. Then debrief in a more traditional fashion. If it does not work well, then as the facilitator I would observe that fact and ask if keeping the devices off is a reasonable next step. One has to go with what you've got in the room!


19) First of all, the training I facilitate is *very* physically active, and it demands sustaining one's attention. So if someone is part of a group that's playing a game, there really isn't time to check their phone. There might be time *between* games to check their phone. As long as it isn't distracting to other people, I don't see a problem with it. If it is distracting to others, then it's a matter of priorities: *everyone* in the training must have the opportunity to learn without distraction. That's a priority over any individual's freedom to act in a way that distracts others.


18) great solution, particularly if the faciitator forgot to set the ground rules on phone use at the start of the class.


17) I would explain that sometimes participants refocus on something besides the instruction for a positive reason (they remembered they needed to do something, they are texting about something relevant to the group, the instruction or activity is boring/confusing, etc.) and then I ask them if they would like to share anything about what they have refocused on that would help the group learn more about the content/objectives of the class. This allows for the participant to re-engage and, perhaps, share a relevant learbning point, or implicitly communicates that irrlevant texting may not be contributing to the learning.


16) The same way as was stated. Use what you have in the moment in order to achieve your goal. "Direct traffic in the direction it's going."


15) The same way as was stated. Use what you have in the moment in order to achieve your goal. "Direct traffic in the direction it's going."


14) In the beginning of my training experience I tried nearly everything others suggested (making ground rules, collecting cell phones, giving points for not using phones etc.) None of it really worked; and it usually took a while to re-establish good working relations with the audience "deprived" of their "toys".

It took me a while to figure out that what is really annoying about it is that I felt participants were not "respecting" me, or that I was doing something "wrong" (which was often the case :-) Then I realised that it was much more productive to "join them" (since I couldn't "beat them" anyway).

These days I would either try to incorporate such situations into the session if possible (yes, I answered "yes" to the poll question), or I would assume that the contents of the messages they are sending are somehow related to what is really needs to be addressed at the session, and will try to make that connection. It sounds a bit "irrational", but it always works, and I had some truly amazing results with this approach.


13) One approach I have used with some success is to ask a question to a participant I see checking their device. Especially if the person is a "serial offender".

Brian Taylor


12) I set ground rules upfront at the beginning of a program and get agreement on it. However, it is a problem and I have not been able to stop it completely.

I heard of one organisation that insisted that participants hand in their phones at the beginning of each session. This would only be possible with the rule being endorsed by senior people at the organisation.

Brian Taylor


11) I would set the rules about no cell phones at the beginning of the session and remind peoople of the rule and ask them to close their devices


10) I would tell participants that we will have several breaks during the workshop, so they are able to handle their most important customer messages.

OR, if I knew this is regular habit of some participants, I'd send them a text message myself and ask them to turn off the phone while in the training.


9) I'd ask people to put their cell phones away. Then after the session, I'd look into how the instructional design of the course needed to change to hold participants' attention and keep them actively engaged with the course content.


8) Setting ground rule from the beginning. Talking to individuals who cause disruption during break time.


7) I actually wish I could have answered 'yes' but I'm not social learning savvy enough! Still working on how to incorporate these new tools. I think the solution to use it is the brilliant. How do you then debrief what they've sent to each other?!


6) Ask them to stop.


5) Refer back to the ground rules, if a cell phone/texting rule was already in place.

Conduct an impromptu activity that forces them to interact, put cell phones down and move to another part of the room.


4) I will remind myself that all present-day participants are in a state of continuous partial attention to electronic devices and not worry too much about messaging.


3) I would have the participants come up with the ground rules at the beginning of a session. If “Turn off your cell phone” is not a rule that is included in the list they create, I would insert it as my own rule.


2) I would make a game out of it by awarding points to the participants at the beginning of the session. The participants would monitor themselves and deduct points if someone catches another violating the ground rules. The participants with the most points earn some kind of reward.


1) I would establish ground rules at the beginning of the session, and remind the participants of them as the situation arises.