I am very interested to know if you had a blank sheet of paper with which to create a world class learning environment/experience, (rooms, facilities, visual, audio etc.) what would be your list of top 5 things to make sure you included? If you have any experience of what not to do would also be helpful?






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A particularly open 'blank sheet of paper' topic Julie!

Presuming that the environment is a physical one, I would be tempted to suggest the below:

(1) High speed, wireless, internet connection

(2) AV equipment to link the room to people elsewhere - most suitable would depend on the tech used internally but if budget is not an issue then I would go with a Surface Hub: https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-surface-hub/en-gb

(3) Learner access to the same system as main AV/screen (possibly via a 1-to-1 phone/tablet distribution or supporting BYOD) for collaboration, polling, Q&A, etc.

(4) Flexible room design and furniture.  There is a lot of research in Higher Education on this, take a look at items such as:

(5) Natural light...easily forgotten but it always makes a difference.

Hope that helps?


Ian, thank you for your suggestions they are most appreciated. I will take a look at the links you have given me for further ideas. Best regards

Hi Julie,

I use to teach in a language lab and beside all the technology that Ian has so well listed below, I would suggest a thoughtful room layout. One that allows people to work on their own but quickly form groups or indeed pairs, and for the teacher/trainer to observe and support without being too intrusive.

Also, and I speak for personal experience, technology can be the best ally but it can quickly turn into our worse enemy if something technical goes wrong, and there is nobody to assist. So my advice is, always have a plan B. That is, make sure there is a board on which you can write, and any other physical aid that you may need to carry out the (plan B)  tasks.







Hi Antonella

Thank you for your suggestions on the use of space and the plan B advice, technology is great when it works but a potential disaster when it doesn't!



Hi Julie, I know your question is focused on layout/equipment & etc. but as the old Irish joke goes..."If I was you, I wouldn't be starting from there!"

In other words, no amount of window dressing will change the attitude towards learning if the basics aren't there:

- senior manager buy-in, support and actual role modelling

- ability for all participants to be able to give and receive feedback

- personal development plans that actually give reasons for the participants to be participating in this learning experience

- clear objectives for the learning (hopefully discussed and agreed prior to the event with the line manager) and a plan for how this will be followed up and measured.

Now...to return to your original question...the layout would depend on what was being learned, for example TLC dispense with all furniture save chairs for an experiential workshop.  The chairs are arranged in a circle around the facilitator, who will for most of the time sit in a chair as well.  For this kind of workshop, slides are irrelevant, so we use flip charts instead (the one on the left of the facilitator has any prepared inputs written on, the one on the right is for the facilitator to write on in the moment).  A further flip chart, known as 'car park' is stuck somewhere on the wall to capture comments/issues that are best dealt with outside the workshop.  Breakout sessions can be very easily managed in our workshops by simply moving the chairs into pairs (pairing & sharing) or even tripods, where typically the third person is observing the other two in conversation and then feeding back later.

In our experience, too much reliance is placed on equipment and not enough on facilitator expertise.  Of course, if the training is around something like MS Word, then the layout and facilitation would be very different.

Hope that all helps!


Hi Colin, thank you for your feedback, most helpful. We do use various room layouts depending on the type of learning we are delivering, one thing we will be aiming to do is rather than use flip charts is to use wall surfaces that can be written on and then photographed. When we have completed the project in early January I will share what the finished facility looks like. Thanks again!

Hi Julie, if you're not familiar with it, you may well want to go to BETT this week (http://www.bettshow.com/).  The show includes a lot of room-based tech and interesting ideas on how to use spaces.

On the wall photographs - take a look at Office Lens if you have not already.

I think preparing wall surfaces that can be written on, photographed and then erased without leaving a mark is truly innovative Julie.  Full marks!

Can't wait to see the finished result!  What kind of learning are you engaged in?

Hi Colin, It is a very exciting project due to launch January 2017. We are involved in qualifications and skills training programmes and that's all I can say at the moment until we are in a position to announce to our customers. Should be fabulous though.




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