You can have the best training material and delivery method, but if I don’t like the training environment or am not motivated to learn; chances are that I will walk out of that training room with very little new knowledge or skill.
“Creating a positive learning environment is the key to building strong connection with your learners and ensure learning takes place” says Ravinder Tulsiani, a Learning Consultant with Training EDGE.
Ravinder explains that “a learning environment conducive to learning is no accident, it must be planned”. He suggests a few simple things you can do before and during the training session to create a positive and stimulating environment.
Here are measures that should be taken before the session begins:
- Prepare the participants by sending them an email to explain how they are going to benefit from the session and provide positive suggestions.
- Choose a training room with lots of lights (ideally sunlight). Bright natural lights will significantly improve the learning ambiance and help in sustaining the motivation level of the participants by maintaining good concentration and energy levels. Insufficient light breeds the sense of fatigue and negatively influences the participants’ mood. Therefore, make sure that natural sunlight reaches the training room or use the table and floor lamps to light the room when natural light is not available. The floor or table lamps provide natural and warmer light as compared with strip lights.
- The individual or row sitting arrangement of traditional class-room environment builds up pressure. Create a more positive atmosphere by clustered sitting arrangements that create a sense of participation among the trainees.
- Reinforce the positive atmosphere of the training room and motivation of the trainees by presenting the positive feedback from the trainees who have already benefited from the training.
- Sustain the motivation level of the trainees and create curiosity among them by presenting key points and objectives of the training through colorful flip-charts around the room.
- Create a relaxing ambiance by redesigning the training room using the theme of comfortable environments such as the restaurants, garden and even the beach. Use the following approach to create a learning environment that is completely distinct from their working environment:
o Eliminate every possible clutter from the environment.
o Decorate the learning room with flowers and plants.
o Divert the phone calls.
o Let the participants refresh when they need.
o Use background music. Baroque music is considered very stimulating and favorable in promoting learning due to its easy and familiar rhythms.
Ravinder cautions that stimulating background themes or the perfect learning ambiance should not be taken as an end in itself. “No single technique can ensure learner transfer occurs”, creating a positive learning environment using the above techniques must be a part of the overall training strategy. Another key determinant is the skills and proficiency of the trainer; a good trainer can significantly accelerate the learning process. Ravinder suggests the following measures for sustaining the right learning environment during the session:
Here are measures that should be taken during the session:
- The training should start smoothly with a pace that doesn’t create discomfort to any learner.
- A trainer should ensure that participants feel relaxed and comfortable during the session. The use of authority, force or even satire on the late-comers hardly contributes anything to accelerate learning except breeding anxiety, embarrassment and pressure on the trainee.
- The participants should be involved in group activities in order to promote cordial learning environment.
- The mutual support and understanding among the participants should be encouraged so that they can pair up with other participants after the session to discuss and excel in their training.
- A trainer should effectively use icebreakers to eliminate the participant’s hesitation in sharing their views and encourage them to engage with other participants. The following points should be considered while using the icebreakers:
o The trainer should participate in the events to break an ice and encourage other participants to take part in the activity.
o The trainer shouldn’t force any participant to engage in any activity regardless of the intention to eliminate hesitation.
o The trainer should only use icebreakers to eliminate hesitation and not for bringing any perceptible change in learning results.
o The trainer should foster confidence that the personal information of the participants will never be misused and remain personal.