Training is one of the most important aspects of any business. Whether you’re helping new employees learn the ropes or teaching the veterans new tricks, training programs help ensure that every member of your team has strong individual skills and a shared sense of the company vision.
That’s why it’s so crucial that you invest resources in your training programs by developing training materials, finding qualified instructors, and establishing a clear set of intentions and goals for the course. But the success of all these efforts requires a thoughtfully designed space for the training to happen.
Training room design is more involved than simply moving a few training tables around and setting up a podium. To that end, here’s what you should know about designing a training room that works.
Choosing a Training Room Design
Begin planning your training room by deciding on an office design style or layout. The various training room design or office design options each come with their own unique benefits and drawbacks. The option that’s right for your company depends upon your specific needs, training program format, and goals.
When choosing a training room design, you should ask yourself:
- Is the training program primarily lecture or discussion-based?
- Does the training program incorporate group or collaborative work?
- Does the program include multimedia presentations?
- How many participants do you plan to include at a time?
Equipped with this knowledge, you can select each design decision to complement your goals.
Common Training Room Layout Options
Once you’ve determined the nature of your training program and the specific needs it entails, you can begin considering training room styles.
There are five common types of training room layouts:
- Classroom-style training
- Conference training
- Square training
- Boardroom training
- Theater/auditorium training
Let’s take a deep dive into how each layout is set up and which kinds of groups and training styles can benefit from each one.
#1 Classroom Style
The classroom style is a training room layout that mimics the look and feel of a traditional classroom setting. Training tables are lined up in rows facing the front of the room where the training instructor stands. Each table generally seats at least two people.
Typically, this training room style is best suited for:
- Large groups – The classroom style is ideal for arranging large groups in a way that allows each participant to see and hear the instructor clearly. It’s also conducive to multimedia training, as it provides a clear line of sight toward the front for all participants.
- Lecture-style training – For training regiments that rely heavily on lectures and instructor direction, the classroom-style format provides an environment where the training instructor is the sole focus.
- Individual or paired work – The classroom-style format is a wise choice if your training event plan requires attendees to work on projects individually or with a partner. Participants are seated close enough together to work in groups when needed but far enough apart to retain an individual workspace.
For mobility reasons, a center aisle is recommended as well as aisles on either side of tables. And be sure to leave enough space between tables—usually at least three feet. This will allow participants to come and go from their workspaces with minimal disruption.
#2 Conference Style
If the classroom aesthetic isn’t quite what you’re going for, the conference layout is an option you should consider. This style features tables arranged in a U-shape toward the front of the training room, where the instructor resides.
The conference-style format is the way to go if your training program includes:
- Discussion-based training – The U-shaped format of the conference style is excellent for promoting cross-classroom discussions, allowing the participants to interact with one another. That said, if your program mixes discussion with lecture-based training, this design still allows for instructor-led presentations.
- Collaborative training – The conference-style format allows for your entire training group to work through the curriculum together or in small groups. It also allows the instructor greater freedom to interact with participants in small groups, pairs, or one-on-one.
#3 Square Layout
The aptly-named square layout of training room design is when the tables are arranged in such a way that they form a closed square. Although there is usually space in the middle of the square, the tables close at each corner, preventing access to it.
The square layout poses many benefits if your training program:
- Promotes interaction – Smaller training programs that involve the entire group in a single discussion or in group activities are especially well-suited to using the square layout. This format provides easy, obstruction-free, face-to-face interaction amongst the whole group.
- Doesn’t depend on multimedia presentations – Because the square is closed, each participant faces in one of four directions. This means videos or other multimedia presentations are usually difficult to manage with this design format, as not all participants will be able to see them.
#4 Boardroom Layout
The boardroom layout is similar to the square layout in the sense that the tables are arranged facing each other. However, under the boardroom design, the tables are pushed together, eliminating the space between them and providing a single, uninterrupted surface between participants.
It’s a more intimate setup that’s usually best for:
- Smaller groups – The appeal of the boardroom style is that it closes the distance between participants. For that reason, this style is best for training groups with a limited number of participants, usually fewer than 10 or 15.
- Collaborative work – That intimacy is also the reason that the boardroom style is uniquely suited to collaborative training environments. If your program requires the participants to work as one unit, the boardroom style can help ensure that everyone remains active and engaged, with no one person taking a central position.
#5 Theater or Auditorium Style
The final design option for how to set up a training room is the theater-style. Also known as auditorium style, this layout ditches tables in favor of chairs arranged in rows facing a single direction, just like in a theater.
This format is typically best for:
- Large groups – By eliminating tables, you can fit more people into the training room without the risk of overcrowding. You also have more options for arranging seating in a way that achieves maximum visibility.
- Video training – If your training program consists primarily of video training, the theater style can be particularly useful because it focuses the participants’ attention toward the screen at the front of the room.
- Lecture-based training – Programs that are based on instructor lectures are particularly well-suited to the theater-style format. However, the lack of tables or desks can pose barriers when it comes to things like note-taking or completing written forms. For that reason, you should consider the use of extra materials in your curriculum before going with this option.
Other Design Considerations
Although choosing a training room design is certainly the most important decision you’ll make, it isn’t the only one. Yes, arranging desks, tables, and chairs in a way that’s most conducive to the type of learning you intend to foster is important, you should consider a range of other factors like:
- Lighting – You should be able to quickly adapt your lighting to your various needs. For example, dimmers are a necessity for when you need to quickly lower the lights to show a video or projection.
- Windows – When it comes to training rooms, windows can be tricky. You don’t want your participants to feel caged off, but you also don’t want them distracted by everything going on outside. Be sure to plan for blinds or curtains if your training room has high-traffic views.
- Flooring – If you haven’t considered the flooring of your training room, you should. The flooring can affect not only the look of the training room but the acoustics as well. A low-pile carpet in neutral colors is recommended. This will stand up to stains and help dampen background noise from chairs, tables, and people moving around.
- Technology – Depending on your training program, you may need to access various technologies like computers, projectors, DVD players, and like. Be sure that your training room is set up to manage your tech needs in terms of equipment and power outlets.
- Furniture – Choosing the right furnishings for your training room is key to making it work. For example, a conference room setup stocked with office chairs that lack wheels will be difficult to reconfigure for group work. Likewise, heavy tables are less-than-ideal for adapting to a square room vs. boardroom for differently sized groups.
A regular training session can keep your employees up-to-date and engaged. To give yourself the widest range of options, invest in modular training room furniture that allows you to remain flexible to your company’s quickly changing needs.
Designing a successful training room is no simple task. It requires bringing into balance several different factors to create a room where attendees are comfortable, engaged, free from unnecessary distractions, and encouraged to learn.
At Juniper, we know that’s a big job.
With over 100 years of experience designing and furnishing flawless, workable office spaces that maximize engagement and increase productivity, we’re the experts you can trust. From training furniture to fill every space in your meeting space or office to personalized office furniture solutions that bring the office of your dreams into reality, we’re the simple, reliable, and fast way to get the job done.
Symonds Research. Training Room Setup and Layout for Corporate Learning. https://symondsresearch.com/room-layout-setup-training/
Rapid Bi. Training Room Layouts Suitable For Group Training and Learning. https://rapidbi.com/training-room-layout/