"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create" - Albert Einstein.
Think back to training sessions you have attended yourself. Which training session do your remember with pleasure, the one that had a boring class room set up with just tables and chairs or the classroom set up that looked inviting, vibrant, colourful and looked as if it was going to be a lot of fun?
Knowledge Base Central lives by the motto: "What we learn with pleasure, we never forget".
You will thank yourself for spending time on setting up your room creatively so it looks like an invitation to learn. When your learners walk into the room, they should be thinking: 'yeah this look great, I don't mind being here today, wonder what we are going to do '.
These are the things you need to consider:
The preferred learning styles of your learners
If you don't know the learning styles of your students, use the VARK model and consider the activities you have planned to cater for each learning style.
Will you need props for the Kinesthetic learners? What are they going to be? Have them out on the desks before they come in and you immediately have some "imagination" going as they will wonder what the props are going to be used for.
What about your Visual learners? They want to see colour in the room, posters on the walls, flip chart paper, felt tips on the desks.
What about your Reader and writers? They want to walk into the room and see immediately that there will be opportunities for them to write. Have the writing pad and pens on the desk, flip chart on the walls with only the heading written up etc.
For your audio learners, use music when they walk in. This will not only please the audio learners but everybody will be energised and motivated especially if you theme the music to the topic you are teaching. If this is hard to find, use something up beat and motivational to put everybody in good spirits.
Table and chair set upThis really depends on what you are teaching and how many people you have in your group. There are several classroom set ups you should consider.
The importance of music in your training room is covered under a separate chapter. Click here.
Putting time and effort into getting the music right could make or break the session.
Having music going when your learners walk in is a simple way of creating that inviting environment. It breaks down barriers and the music will immediately say something about you as their facilitator for the day. Match the music to your group of learners/ their age/ their interest/ the topic you are teaching. You don't need to like the music but if it helps your most reluctant learners to open up their minds, you can put up with 3 minutes of your less favourite music. Also think about the music in between, and the music at the end of the day.
Use the wall space. Very often the wall in a training room can look very bland. Again put thought into how you can use this space and use them as a learning tool for your students.
Good use of the white board (or flip chart if no whiteboard is available) is an essential tool to open up the learners minds. First of all use as much colour as you can, use oranges, pinks, purples, lime green and yellow for drawing on the board. Use the traditional black, red, and blue for the important information and while writing during the session. It is important that on the left or right hand side of the board you summarise what is going to be covered in today's session.
TIP: Have you used a permanent marker pen on a whiteboard and could not get it off?
There is absolutely no reason to panic. Stay calm and composed. Pick up a whiteboard marker and a tissue , write over the permanent marker pen word and rub out with your tissue. Do little sections at the time if you discovered it after you wrote an entire essay on the board. If you don't believe this simple trick, why don't you and try it right now in a discrete corner of your whiteboard.