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20090119-training-venue
This is a much shorter post than the lengthy screeds on the material and delivery aspects of training, mostly due to the fact that this is the aspect of training delivery you have the least amount of control over as a trainer. But, admittedly I do have less to say about this area as well.

Fundamentally, a good training venue is one that can keep the trainer mobile, and the students awake. And, given that keeping the instructor mobile is about keeping students awake, it fundamentally boils down to keeping the students awake. The rest largely takes care of itself.

Air conditioning and lighting

There’s no greater recipe for sending students off to sleep than a warm, dimly lit room. Except maybe if you handed out pillows first. A good training venue should have reliable air conditioning. Without creating a welcoming environment for the penguins, err on the side of cooler. Also, bright lighting helps it feel less like Sleepytown.

Snack time!

It’s understandable that training venues often don’t allow students to eat food, given the mess it makes. But, even with the possibility of spills, good training venues let students (and the trainer) have drinks in the room. Water helps concentration, and coffee and tea helps students (and you as the trainer) fight through the tiredness as the week draws on.

Also, while sugar has a crash to go with its rush, the better training venues provide bowls of lollies for students to nibble on. Lollies like Minties or Fantales give students sugar to keep them awake, something to do besides listening, and something to eat that doesn’t make a mess.

Remote mouse and projector

If you can stay mobile as a trainer, you’ll be more awake and alert, and you’ll be able to be more engaging and dynamic in your delivery as a result. Being able to move around the room lets you interact with students directly – to be more dramatic, and vary how your delivery is physically arranged. But that requires two things.

First and foremost, the venue should use a projector to display the slides being talked to at the front of the room. That way, you can address the course material while still moving about. A laser pointer can help here as well, but that’s a matter of personal preference.

Second, some sort of remote to be able to interact with the PC displaying the slideware. I’ve used both a radio mouse and a laptop remote to good effect in the past. Being able to interact with the slideware remotely stops you having to continually dash back to press a key to move between slides – it lets your presentation flow more smoothly.

The other big bonus from having the slides projected to the front of the room is that it gives everyone a shared, central focal point, rather than staring at individual monitors.

Internet-capable, well-spaced PCs

The student’s PCs should, in the interests of comfort, be spaced far enough apart that students aren’t cramped together. A gap the size of a monitor between student’s monitors is a good starting rule.

Also, and this is a bit of a divided topic, the students should have internet access, and be able to use their PCs while you’re delivering training. It can mean that student’s minds will wander the internet rather than listen to you, but students are more likely to stay awake if they’re not forced into a passive role. I’ve delivered training for a partner where the students PCs were turned into passive broadcasters of the training material while the trainer is presenting, and it’s not great. It makes staying focused and awake more difficult for students, not to mention preventing them from tinkering or playing catchup with exercises.

Well, that’s it for thoughts on training venues, and training overall. Hope you’ve enjoyed the posts!

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