The Effects of Boredom on Learning

Boredom is the lackluster feeling you get when you have nothing to do or you simply lack interest in what you are doing. In the first case, boredom can actually lead to innovation as the brain searches for something with which to engage itself. In the second case, however, the subject is already doing something, but he or she is completely disengaged and the brain wanders (at best) or goes into an almost a trancelike state.

If your employees are bored during your virtual training, it will be of the second variety, which will negatively impact their learning. Additionally, their boredom-induced lack of learning will most certainly impact their work productivity, performance and achievement.

To help your employees get the most out of virtual training, make sure you train your trainers to provide and implement activity-based learning strategies such as small group activities and projects, gamification, discussion groups, and simulation/roleplays.


Gamification means adding competitive or game-like components to training activities that wouldn’t normally be considered games.

In virtual, instructor-led training (VILT), facilitators could attach a points system to an assessment activity, create races, award badges, and incorporate other game-type features to keep people engaged and give them incentive to learn.

Gamification is a terrific social learning tool that:

  • Incentivizes and accelerates learning
  • Motivates action
  • Encourages social connections (especially when the games are team-based)
  • Connects employees to company culture

Small Group Activities/Projects

Small group learning is an important part of engagement learning. One of the best ways to engage employees during training is to tap into their prior knowledge and let them participate as experts and teammates. Everyone likes to feel important and to be recognized for what they know, and people enjoy sharing their knowledge.

You provide training to teach your employees processes, policies, procedures, and skillsets.  While you can’t assume they know everything they need to be successful in their position, they do have ideas, and they all come with unique background experiences and skills that are can be valuable to other team members. They can add a lot to each other’s knowledge base, and they are far less likely to feel bored when they get to do some of the talking.

Small groups help many people feel safe in sharing their experiences where they may not participate in larger group discussions.  Working together in small groups help build camaraderie and promotes teamwork.  This helps center employees and ensures they feel a commitment to the team.


Two of the most vital elements of hands-on, empowered learning are simulation and roleplay. These activities keep everyone immersed in the learning process. Where most types of training require attendees to watch or listen, simulation and roleplay encourage employees to ‘do’ and learn.

Simulation is a very specific imitation of a situation or process. For instance, before practicing in an actual airplane, pilots are trained using programs that imitate flying conditions and operations. Virtual learning labs are a form of simulation for things like virtual software training.

Roleplaying involves creating realistic scenarios where the trainee has to make critical decisions similar to what they would face in the workplace.  For example, a sales roleplay lets salespeople experience different pushbacks and questions they will face when selling a product or service

The key to preventing training boredom is to involve your attendees in activity/project-based, engaging and social learning activities using the right virtual tools. You can find and explore a wealth of virtual training tools at Jigsaw Interactive,