Successfully managing a learning environment in training sessions is half the battle. Something as simple as where particular people sit can change the dynamics in the room. Part of the learning on every training course though comes from the sharing of knowledge and ideas between delegates. As the trainer, you therefore need to ensure that the group dynamics are right, and that the delegates are arranged in groups that maximise learning and participation.
Ways to split a group:
When first arriving for a course, delegates will often choose to sit next to those they know already or those they feel they will have an affinity with. At times you will permit this, but at other times you may choose to actively move delegates to change the dynamic in the room.
If you want to regularly change where delegates sit:
- Give each delegate a number around the room then for example, say those with an even number will work together and those with odd numbers will form team 2 etc.
- Split by work discipline or departments
- Split by choice – they decide the groups
- Force a move by saying they can sit where they like but not where they were before the break
- Change the desk layout over lunch so when they return different groups will have to form
In managing a learning environment you need to consider the following:
(before you even book the training room you intend to use)
- Room temperature/air con
- Availability of water
- Distracting features around the room
- Space for delegates to work or spread their papers
- Comfort of seats
- Room for restless delegates to stand up and stretch
- Break out room availability
- Power sockets for charging of phones, laptops or tablets
- Security of your delegates possessions if they are left in the room during lunch breaks
- WiFi strength if you are using any online resources such as Kahoot or playing videos.
Think also about reception for mobile phones – there can be nothing more stressful for some delegates than having no WiFi or phone reception. Equally you might deliberately choose a venue with no phone reception or WiFi if you don’t need to use anything online for the session, but be prepared to deal with some disgruntled delegates.
If you often encounter disgruntled or difficult delegates in training sessions, take a look at our previous blogs:
Other things to consider:
- Will the room you are in give you the space you need for your activities and exercises?
- Will any of your activities be noisy and if so, what impact will this have on those in rooms nearby?
- Is there outside space you can use on a sunny day?
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