You're a training expert, not an interior designer. However, the layout and features within a training room can make a big impact on the learning experience. We spoke to some experienced trainers and professional instructors to get their best tips for better learning outcomes and student/instructor satisfaction. Let's start with the most important one right off the bat.
Configure Your Room With Communication in Mind
The training room sets the tone for the learning experience you're looking to offer. The quality of any learning experience is completely dependent upon three different interactions your students have:
Depending on what the information you're looking to convey, the importance of these three types of interactions may very. Group work and collaboration may be the best method to deliver your message. Perhaps your presenter is a well-known expert in their field. Or maybe you're hosting a software training where hands-on learning with a learning management system (LMS) is the most important tool for delivering your content.
No matter what scenario you're dealing with, you'll want to make sure your training space is configured to optimize the delivery of your information. Classroom-style layouts are best for presentation-focused sessions. Learning pods will help improve group work. U-Shape layouts are great for group discussions and participant-to-participant communication.
Whatever type of training you host, be sure your training space is set up to help facilitate the conversation!
ALWAYS Test Your Technology and Content Beforehand
This may seem like a silly, self-explanatory one, but it's on the list for a reason. Nothing will sink a training session faster than technical issues. Be sure to test your internet connection, any video playback, and your ENTIRE slide presentation before the training starts. Make sure you also build in enough time to troubleshoot should your test not go according to plan. Contingencies are an absolute necessity. Hoping to stream a YouTube video? Make sure you've got a local copy of the file in case you experience connectivity issues.
If you're hosting a computer lab training, make sure ALL the machines have been tested with the software and applications that need to be run. If you're working with a dedicated outsourcing partner, they might be able to take care of this for you before you even arrive at the venue!
Make Sure Participants Are Comfortable
If participants are uncomfortable, this will be their focus during the event, so it’s important to remove any potential distractions relating to comfort. This means chairs should be comfortable and adjustable to accommodate individual preferences. The temperature of the meeting room should not be a distraction either (i.e., too hot or cold). Ask the on-site coordinator or tech to set the desired temperature before participants arrive.
Put a Clock on the Training Room Wall
Probably one of the most overlooked training room features, the clock is invaluable for both the instructor and participant experience. Have a clock visible in the room allows the instructor to more naturally pace themselves as they progress through a lesson. Having an in-room clock also severely cuts down on student distraction by eliminating the need to check their own cell phone or other devices for the time. A quick glance at a phone can quickly turn into a 5 minute Instagram break.
Ensure the Best Possible Lighting and Viewing Experience
Training rooms should always be well lit to ensure everyone can see the content, instructor, and other students to communicate effectively. If possible, try to seek out a venue with natural light. Research shows that participants in a work or training environment reported a 51% drop in the incidence of eyestrain, a 63% drop in the incidence of headaches and a 56% reduction in drowsiness.
You'll also want to make sure that each student has good sight lines as well. Take a walk around the room and sit in the chairs to ensure every participant has a clear line of sight to the instructor, whiteboard or any other focal point in the room.
And our last tip (but certainly not least),
Don't Do It All Yourself
Training event planning and execution is a lot of work and must be done right in order to maintain effectiveness. Many learning organizations don’t have the time or resources to handle all of the logistics of delivering a training event, so be sure to work with a provider that offers full support before, during, and after your event. Don’t get bogged down in logistical issues if you don’t have to.
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