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Dominic Valentine

Dominic Valentine

Training Manager

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Training Room Layout-Which do you prefer?


Which of the following training room layouts do you find most conducive and convivial for your type of training? Or do you use a blend of these formats? All have merits and demerits depending on context. My own courses tend to be a mixture of the tabled open horseshoe and then coffee table format for break out activity. Yours? What strengths and weaknesses have you identified in the range below? Are there other formats?

  • Tabled open horseshoe
  • Cabaret
  • Boardroom style
  • Open forum with chairs only
  • Theatre or Conference format
  • Herringbone
  • Coffee table

7 Responses

  1. Depends what you are given


    Many experienced trainers will know what layout is best for the event/activity. The really good trainers are able to deal with the cupboards, sheds, glasshouses and other idiotic environments that organisations offer as a training room which are seemingly totally unconducive to learning. I heard from one TrainerBase member who recently and successfully engaged with 15 managers who were pinned against a wall around a table that occupied 90% of the area of the room that was half the size of that requested. They heard later through the grapevine that someone in the organisation was attempting to undermine the programme so that it would be cancelled. Go figure.

    Helping business and other organisations find trainers.

  2. Room layout

    I think it depends a lot on the course design, the group size, the room shape and the furniture available. My preference is that it should be fit for purpose taking account of all those factors.


  3. Depends on audience/content/expected outcomes

    As an ex-schoolteacher I have used all of the different classroom layouts you have listed. My preference for a particular layout depends on my audience, what content I'm teaching and what I want the audience to achieve at the end of it. For example, a cabaret layout is much more condusive to discussion whereas a theatre layout isn't – therefore if I need my audience to focus independently on a task I wouldn't choose (for example) an open forum layout.

    I also wouldn't be afraid to change a classroom layout mid-session – I have often changed to a different layout during the coffee break to fit with my next session. You'll find your audience will return to the room and feel re-invigorated by the change.


  4. Training Room Layout

    I would also take into account what type of training, the size and number of people and sometimes the space available. I am at ease with the coffee table, but do not have to use it all the time when i can not because of the space.

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Dominic Valentine

Training Manager

Read more from Dominic Valentine

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