Five Must-Ask Questions to Consider Before Choosing a Training Location
Can you imagine if the New England Patriots played football in a rickety old stadium lacking comfortable seats, amenities and modern conveniences? Though it’s hard to imagine, you can bet that they probably wouldn’t sell out every game like they do, and the fans who did come would not have a very enjoyable experience watching Tom Brady do his QB thing.
The same principle can be applied to the training locations that companies choose. You might have a world-class team of instructors and a well-designed curriculum, but if you choose the wrong location your learners will be left disappointed and disengaged. As the computer programming cliché goes — Garbage in, Garbage out! — and the same can be said for choosing the optimal learning environment.
The good news is that corporate training professionals can avoid this primary professional education pitfall. You can select an appropriate learning environment — whether it is in-house or at a third-party venue — by simply starting the site-selection process by asking a series of questions:
Is the facility specifically designed for training?
Not all meeting rooms are created equal. It is vital that a learning classroom or computer lab be optimized for the best learning experience. From room size and design to seating configuration, to furniture, to the WiFi connection and bandwidth access, there are a multitude of reasons why a facility custom-designed for business learning is of fundamental importance. For example, Falcon Products, a valuable resource for training space design and furniture, recommends 15-17 square feet per participant to work comfortably and that training facilities feature ceilings that are ten feet or higher to create a more spacious learning atmosphere.
Does the location offer a distraction-free environment?
The ideal training room — whether for a workshop, software training or a soft-skills development seminar — is designed so that students can easily focus solely on the information-sharing process. Things such as noisy hallways, outside traffic, or cramped space lacking clear sightlines to the instructor can derail the attention (and thus knowledge retention) of your learners.
Does the venue offer catered meals and snacks?
There are three words that training pros never want to hear from their learners in the middle of a training session: “I am hungry!” Yes, your learners are adults, not pre-schoolers. But they are also human and require the necessary nutrition to keep their focus and energy high. It is a safe bet that many of your trainees love a hot coffee, or will be more engaged throughout the session with a healthy mid-day lunch and availability to snack options. Sure, it is common sense, but don’t under-estimate the need for access to food and drinks — especially for day-long events!
Does the facility provide on-site tech support and the technology you will need?
Whether you need a classroom with modern PC’s, or a room offering connectivity for a BYOD(Bring Your Own Device) event, or the ability for remote learners to participate in the class through a virtual learning experience, you must ensure that the training location has all the computer, connectivity and technical support services you will need. In order to optimize the learning experience, modern classrooms require much more than chairs and desks and a projector.
Does the location offer training professionals who manage planning and logistics?
Planning and executing a training event, especially large-scale training, can be an experience akin to diving down the proverbial rabbit hole. There are so many details and unexpected issues that arise throughout every phase of a corporate training rollout. Ideally, a location offers more than just real estate and instead can help you navigate all the complexities (registrations, tracking stages, logistical management, administrative services, etc.) that inevitably will require your attention.
The process of choosing a training location is the first and perhaps most important step in your event planning, which is why it is so vital to ask the proper questions and seek answers that will best inform your choice of venue.
Let’s face it. In today’s modern business climate, often your decision-making process for training will lead you to consider off-site venues that are dedicated to owning and operating training-specific facilities. Given the technical and space needs of most companies, off-site training labs and classrooms offer the kind of resources you’ll need to make your training event one that employees will appreciate and, in turn, allow them to come back to your organization armed with the knowledge to help achieve your organization’s goals!