Workplace design tends to take notes from academia, and education is evolving. In the past 50 years, technology and cultural developments have enabled learning environments to move beyond classical settings. History’s most powerful tools and data on how people learn than ever before have named immersion, inclusivity and collaboration as drivers of success. Focused on these new goals, organizations have conceived and implemented many forms of unconventional training room space. However, experience tells us that these environments must not only cater to varied forms of learning, but respond to pupils’ individual needs.
Why Have A Training Room?
Effective learning depends on synthesis – developing ideas, applying and contextualizing information, deepening an understanding of ourselves and our surroundings. So, an effective learning environment will reflect this modern approach – allowing individuals to focus, collaborate and assess. Instead of providing pupils with competence, effective learning environments afford people the opportunity to understand a skill and how to apply it.
So, we believe the solution to cultivating effective learning environments in the workplace is to provide people with choices about where to work and learn. In this guide, we’re going to examine how to justify, design and implement those choices. Let’s explore learning environments from the physical space down to tables and chairs.
How to Cultivate an Effective Training Room
While individuals vary, associating positive emotions with a particular space improves learning outcomes. These associations influence an individual to gravitate toward space they enjoy and, consequently, produce the best outcomes. This phenomenon provides data about which spaces are used most and in what ways, leading to more informed decisions about the most effective mix.
But, before you can use the insights from intelligence collected, you have to cultivate an effective learning environment. So, we’re going to break down training rooms into three components of effective collaboration: physical space, furnishings and technology.
Training Room Environments
First, let’s examine what’s required of the physical spaces that will become learning environments. This begins at construction – accessibility, allocation and environmental factors. During design, consider your proximity to restrooms, “quiet zones” and ancillary areas for break out work. Create entrances wide enough to accommodate frequent movement of furniture, as well as comply with ADA regulations. As a rule of thumb for estimating footprint, classroom settings require between 15-17sqft per occupant. 10′ ceilings or higher will accommodate wall-mounted screens and audiovisual presentation tools.
Climate in a training space has two facets: the HVAC system and the thermostat. Your HVAC should maintain a minimum air velocity of 12-15 feet per minute at full occupancy. The thermostat should be separate from the surrounding areas, with controls located in the space. When the air is running, it should be quiet enough that conversational speech can be easily heard.
Acoustics in a training room should be considered from both internal and external perspectives. Internally, the training room should facilitate an individual’s presentation as well as group work. Externally, the training room shouldn’t affect the productivity of surrounding areas. Proper sound proofing can ensure elevated levels of noise from your collaborative space doesn’t travel to more focused areas.
Lighting your training room is facilitated similarly to the furniture – distributed, with options. Locating fixtures for an even distribution across a dynamic workspace is essential. Fixtures with dimmable components can help focus attention on a presentation. Having separately controlled fixtures (i.e. switch for main fixtures AND presentation wall) accommodates changing configurations.
Floor covering can also impact the acoustic quality of a space – carpeted surfaces will absorb some sound, while harder surfaces cause reverberation. However, your floor covering decision should also consider the type of casters on your chairs.
Training Room Tables
The name of the game with training room furniture is flexibility. Training room tables, as such, should be designed to accommodate an ever-changing work environment. First, they need to hold up to abuse. Expect constant use by multiple teams and much movement for reconfiguration and storage. Next, consider the process of reconfiguration and storage itself. Effective training tables move, fold and nest. Casters on training table bases mobilize your furniture for reconfigurations. Training tables most often allow users to flip the work surface up against the base with a simple mechanism. Bases are designed such that groups of folded tables occupy a significantly smaller footprint when “nested” into each other for storage. Finally, evaluate whether you’re going to integrate tables with power. Daisy chain power, wire management and integrated modesty panels are just a few solutions for a technologically-enabled training room.
Training Room Chairs
Now, with training room chairs, flexibility becomes slightly less paramount as you strive to balance with comfort. Training room chairs often fall into two categories: ergonomic and nesting/stacking. In this guide, we’re going to talk about the nesting/stacking kind. You can learn more about ergonomic chairs in their own guide. In terms of features, training room chairs bear resemblance to their complementing tables: most move, fold and nest. Training room chairs generally have casters, seats that flip up and frames designed to nest together for compact storage. Choose chair component materials for contacting the that don’t conduct temperature, and prioritizes comfort.
Training Room Accessories
The rising prevalence of collaboration as an ongoing process necessitates the ability to mirror physical and virtual workspaces. Thus, effective collaboration entails the ability to store interactions and express ideas that are accessible by contributors for use during more momentous collaboration. Arming a space to accommodate different types of learning entails four main components, which are all supplemented by technology. These are writing, watching, presenting and storage.
Writing implements include mobile and wall-mounted markerboards to capture spontaneous ideas and less formal ideation. To cater to visual learners, invest in ceiling-mounted projectors with remote controls. Reserve one large wall for projections, or orient a whiteboard such that it acts as a screen. Presenters should be armed with lecterns, laser pointers and be loud enough for the people in the back. Having a place to ground oneself, organize notes and control presentation contributes to more effective information sharing. Additionally, allocating space to store collaborative materials will keep your dynamic space uncluttered. Underlining all of this, integrate additional outlets across both the footprint and elevation to eliminate trip hazards.
Thanks for Reading!
Physical spaces shape the behavior of their occupants. Accessible technologies for collaboration enable inclusive participation. Systems for managing changing behaviors are essential to success. Insights from people’s behaviors and use of tools can provide an accurate picture of how, where and when people collaborate. All these components of learning environments contribute to the effectiveness of that space and, consequently, the organization. Therefore, by cultivating effective training rooms, organizations can accelerate the cadence of collaboration. We hope this provided you some perspective about changes in your own workplace. Change in the workplace on the horizon, or just on the brain? You can tell us about your project here, or you can click the button below to peruse a curation of training room idea starters. Either way, we’re here to make your workspace work as hard as you do – you just tell us how.