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Make Your Training Room Learner-Friendly: How to Set Up a Classroom

Posted by Melissa Grey Satterfield on 1/31/11 4:06 AM
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Classroom layout can make or break your training! At Langevin, our goal is to make our training environment comfortable, accommodating, and free from outside distractions in order to maximize learning. So, what are some “tricks of the trade?”


Ideally, your classroom should be set up the day before the training begins. Don’t forget to verify the following:

  1. Chairs and tables are comfortable and arranged to allow maximum involvement (see descriptions of physical arrangements below).
  2. Whiteboards, multimedia projector/screen, and flipcharts are in good working order and all unnecessary supplies, furniture, and equipment are removed from the training site.
  3. All visual aids are visible from each seat.

In addition to the above, the physical arrangement of your tables and chairs needs to encourage participant interaction and involvement. Below are three possible physical arrangements, with the most ideal listed first.


Round Tables Facing Forward (crescent rounds)

Participants sit half-way around tables, facing the front of the room. This is the most desirable, as it works well for brainstorming, problem-solving, or any other small group activity. It can also make participants feel equal regardless of organizational position. In addition, participants can see the facilitator and all visual aids. (This is Langevin’s preferred room arrangement.)



Participants are seated individually at tables placed in a u-shaped pattern, facing the front of the room. This works well for technical demonstrations with props/displays and team teaching. It still allows for participant interaction, small group activities, and leader-led discussions.


Theater Style Seating

Participants are seated in rows facing the instructor. This is the least desirable for small group activities, but appropriate for computer labs and software training. When at all possible, participants can be paired up to discuss content and work flow and icebreakers, puzzles, and brainteasers can often be used to encourage interaction.


Comfort and participation are of utmost concern to us at Langevin, and we try hard to model an ideal classroom set-up. What are you doing to make your classroom ‘learner friendly?’



Melissa has been a course leader with Langevin since 2000. She graduated from the University of Nevada where she studied broadcast communications. During her college years, Melissa worked as an on-air personality for several radio and TV stations in Las Vegas. She’s always been a bit of a performer, which is probably why training is such a good fit for her. Before coming to Langevin, she was a senior training specialist and course developer for an organization based in L.A. Melissa knows the challenges trainers face, as well as the rewards that come with improving job performance. Her training mantra is summed up best by something she learned during her very first Langevin workshop, “Never do for the learners what the learners can do for themselves.” When not in the classroom, Melissa loves travelling, relaxing at the beach, cooking, and hosting dinner parties.

Topics: instructor-led training, tips-for-trainers, learners

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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