One thing I have found in my own life is that I usually learn better in a live environment if I am doing something relatively simple to engage my mind while I am listening to the instructor. Playing Farmville while someone is speaking usually allows me to get more from what is being said that keeping my whole attention and focus only on the speaker.
This seems wrong in some ways and certainly would concern some instructors. After all, how could I be focusing when I am playing a completely unrelated game? Ironically,. I think the mental activity keeps my mind sharp while keeping it from getting bored and wandering much further.
Unfortunately, such things were not available when I was in college, though I did try Rubics Cubes and other twisty toys, but I never found anything that was engaging beyond a few minutes, at best. I did great in most classes, but paying attention to the lecture was never my strong suite, though I could usually master the material easily in spite of this.
I do have to watch out here. It is very easy to use something that requires too much focus, such as an online game of Bejeweled, so this is not without its hazards. Still, I think the fact I can keep my brain running is ultimately a worthwhile effort.
I do listen to a lot of podcasts and different kinds of teaching as "background music" during my work, so I wonder if this has any impact to things.