Although the number of MOOCs and e-learning courses are increasing every year, face-to-face training, where the participants and the trainer are physically in the same room, still retains considerable appeal. This is particularly true for companies which need to continuously train their employees in order to keep up with developments and competitors in their sector. The success of any training session is largely down to good organisation, where everything has been considered with the trainer’s and participants’ comfort in mind. With this in mind, here are 7 indispensable pieces of equipment that will help ensure the success of your training session.
A whiteboard or flipchart
Even in this digital age, nothing beats a whiteboard or flipchart for trainers who prefer paper-based methods to illustrate their point. Writing, drawing, and showing examples on a physical medium remains one of the most effective ways to communicate. A compact and portable flipchart is ideal for a small group, whereas a whiteboard on a wall is more appropriate for a larger training room, or if there are a larger number of participants. Don’t forget to have different coloured pens on hand!
A video projector or large screen
Graphs, slide shows, infographics, and video clips have become a key part of training sessions. Visual aids help you retain the information, as any self-respecting coach or trainer will tell you. In this highly visual world, video projectors, or alternatively, a large screen, have become essential learning tools in training.
Image quality is of paramount importance when dealing with multimedia equipment, and the video projector’s performance needs to be suitable for the capacity and layout of the room. Check whether the meeting room where you are holding your training course is already equipped with one.
Over the past few years, we have witnessed the advent of various models, such as :
• the wireless video projector : more manageable, especially if the trainer is using a tablet or smartphone to transmit the data
• the video projector with an interactive whiteboard : a dynamic duo that is all the rage with training providers ; it allows you to interact with the projected images (add notes, underline, highlight, etc.).
A projection screen
This goes without saying. Although the video projector is one of the “cornerstones” of training, it’s not half as effective without the accompanying projection screen. The condition (clean, smooth, not wrinkled or torn) and surface of the fabric are factors to look out for, as this will affect people’s viewing comfort during the session. The projection screen may be wall-mounted (fixed) or on a tripod (adjustable and portable).
A good internet connection
Whether you’re connecting by Wi-Fi or by cable (with RJ45 connectors), an internet connection is another essential item for your training session. Although it’s the same across most large cities, it’s important to check that your connection is good enough for everyone to be able to access the internet quickly and easily.
A computer or tablet
A PC (preferably laptop) or tablet should also be on your list of basic training equipment. Practicality first ! While the computer is a tool that needs no introduction, the tablet is becoming increasingly popular for presentations. It’s light, so you can hold it in one hand or place it on a stand to keep it upright. You can even use a suction cup mount, for added versatility. And since a laptop or tablet can connect easily to the internet and to other multimedia equipment (via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth), the trainer has all of the tools they need to successfully lead the session. Don’t forget to upload all of the files that you need onto the device.
Of course, if participants will be required to complete practical exercises on the computer, the training room should also be equipped with enough individual workstations.
Ah, yes – We never give them a thought until we’re running around the room, looking for a plug socket. In theory, board rooms, computer rooms and the like are cleverly laid out and should have enough plug sockets around the room for any kind of device. This avoids using precarious and potentially dangerous extension cords or multiple plug adaptors.
A coffee machine and water fountain
No, we’re not being divas – A tea/coffee break during training is just as important as staying hydrated to ensure everyone’s well-being. Whether it’s a vending machine or a “real” coffee machine, in the hallway or in a break room, the idea is to allow participants to regularly clear their heads before tackling the training again. It’s also an excellent way to encourage discussions among the participants, as well as a chance for them to talk with the trainer. Certain venues that rent out training rooms have hot drinks available, and even offer breakfast or lunch packages. Failing that, they should at least offer a bottle of water for each attendee.
Write a checklist before starting your search for a training room
The equipment mentioned above is vital for training, but you should adapt this to your situation and create your own list, geared towards the number of participants and the type of training to be delivered. You may find that other items need to be added, such as a sound system in the case of a very high number of trainees or if the room is very large. To avoid the trainer having to shout, or only half of the room hearing what has been said, a microphone (preferably wireless !) linked up to a speaker system is a huge help.
With your checklist in hand, choosing a training room and organising the rest will become quick and simple.