Computer Lab Setup
Here are some ideas for setting up your training room or computer lab.
Action zone: Front, center of the room.
Group involvement: Little to none.
Seating: Facing the front of the room in rows. Chairs should be located six feet away from the trainer's table.
Space per person: 10 square feet.
Max. # of people: No maximum as long as 10 square feet are provided for each person.
Accommodates AV: Will accommodate equipment well. If a group is larger than 40 participants, consider using projected images on a large screen so everyone can view the presentation.
Advantages: Ideal for large groups. Good for presenting videos or films that do not require discussion. Straight lectures with little group participation also work well with this style.
Disadvantages: Does not allow for much group participation. Does not provide writing surface for taking notes. People in the back rows may feel removed from the lecture.
Action zone: In the center and at the open end of the "U."
Group involvement: High. Creates a sense of equality within the group.
Seating: Chairs seated around the outside of the "U."
Tables: Rectangular tables set in a "U" configuration. Pie shapes are commonly used at the corners to complete the shape and eliminate hard edges. Trainer's table is at the opening of the "U."
Space per person: 40 square feet.
Max. # of people: 24 people
Accommodates AV: Yes. This configuration is one of the best for visual displays and multimedia presentations. Equipment set at the open end of the "U."
Advantages: Easy to see and hear everyone in the group. Front of room commands the group's attention. Unity is created by pushing all the tables together. Openness gives trainees a sense of freedom and encourages participation. Best set-up for role-playing and other physical activities.
Disadvantages: Requires more space than any other configuration. Due to space and learning requirements, the maximum amount of participants should not exceed 24.
Variations: Double "U": allows trainer to seat more people than single "U" set-up. Limits discussions between the groups. Best used when the outside group is observing the discussions and activities of the inside group.
"U" Computer Training: this arrangement allows the tables to be ganged together enabling wires to run under the tables easily. Wire management is a must in this situation. This set-up also allows the instructor to monitor students' work easily while speaking to the class.
Action zone: At the front of the room. Students are focused on the instructor.
Group involvement: Medium. Allows one-way interaction back and forth between instructor and audience or between the trainer and an individual in the group.
Seating: Similar to a school arrangement with participants seated behind a row of desks or tables.
Tables: Arranged in rows, either butted together side by side or standing alone.
Space per person: 10 square feet.
Max. # of people: up to 200 provided the room has enough space to adequately accommodate the number of participants.
Accommodates AV: Yes. Works well for all presentation displays. Be aware of the limits of the presentation equipment and materials in respect to the size of the audience.
Advantages: Every participant has a good view of the front of the room. This allows the instructor a great deal of control over the students. In larger groups, it is possible for everyone to hear what is being said. Provides surface for note taking or reference materials.
Disadvantages: Hard for instructor to move into the audience, separating him/her from the students. Student participation seems to drop off toward the back of the room.
Variations: Perpendicular: tables are arranged in long rows perpendicular to the trainer's table. The edge of the first table should be six feet away from the trainer's table and a large corridor should be left in the middle to allow for group participation.
Computer-based Training: the classroom set-up is commonly used for computers. This can create problems with wires due to the tables being separated. Ideally, power should be supplied near every table. Wire management is a necessity with this set-up to safely conceal wires around work areas.
Adapted from, “How Furniture Placement Promotes Learning,” by Chris Petrick. (http://www.isdesignet.com/magazine/apr'98/spe.html)
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