Create a Comfortable Environment for Adult Learning - dummies

Create a Comfortable Environment for Adult Learning

By Elaine Biech

As a trainer, be sensitive to the mood of your classroom — created by both the physical aspects as well as each participant’s demeanor. To create a comfortable environment, consider these before your next training session:

In a traditional classroom

  • Turn the lights on bright. There is nothing more depressing to me than walking into a ballroom where the lights have been left on romantic dim from the party the night before.

    Ask for a room with natural light. Even on a sunless day, natural light is more pleasant than any artificial lighting.

  • Learn how to adjust the thermostat for the most comfortable level for most of the participants. Remember you never please all of them all the time. Do your best.

  • Ensure that the environment “looks” comfortable. Hide empty boxes. Chairs should be straight. Place materials neatly and uniformly at each seat. This order tells the learners that you care and went to the trouble of getting ready for them.

  • Ensure that you and your visuals can be seen and heard by all learners. Go ahead try it out. Sit in their seats. Will all participants be able to see your visuals and hear you?

  • Arrange to have the most comfortable chairs available.

  • Arrange the tables to be conducive to learning. Chapter7 provides a number of suggestions.

  • Ensure that everyone has adequate personal space.

  • Have extra supplies, pens, and paper available.

  • Have coffee, tea, and water, waiting in the morning.

In a virtual classroom

  • Use a pre-class communication to connect with your participants to reassure them that you are there to help facilitate their learning.

  • Confirm that participants received any handouts or other materials they need before the class.

  • Ensure that your learners know how to set up their computers prior to the day of your virtual class. They may not have experience with the specific virtual classroom platform you will use.

  • Help participants manage the environment in which they will attend the virtual session.

  • Do whatever it takes to put all learners at ease about participating in your virtual classroom.

Breaks are required to ensure a comfortable environment. In both virtual and traditional classrooms, ensure that you plan for ample breaks. The rule of thumb is to take a break every 90 minutes. Few virtual classrooms go beyond 90 minutes, but if yours does, a break midway is imperative.