In most organizations, learners spend much of their day in front of the screen. Don’t fear that email, the Internet, Twitter, et. al., will distract learners from your module: Of course it will!
However, what was a worry, with some holistic thinking, can become an asset (see Lessons 1 – 4). Flip the scene to imagine how social learning, the organizational intranet or forum feed, and the larger on-screen window-to-the-world become an asset to your e-learning goals.
A learner, even if taken away from his computer for coursework at a dedicated “e-learning terminal” carries the world with him in his mind (not to mention phones and tablets!). It is beneficial, if done thoughtfully, to invite the world at his fingertips into the course. Make a browser search part of a directed activity. Require that he IM his manager at key points throughout the e-learning course. Perhaps he’ll be directed to add to the intranet forum on the given topic. Why not? Learning is not separate from, but an important part of his working life. The outside world is not a threat if we bend it to our needs.
What’s more, for many topics the tool he uses to train on – his computer – is the same tool he uses to complete tasks. All the better! He is much more apt to remember and transfer his e-learning lesson when he is supported by the same visual and environmental cues that were there when he first learned it.