There are five key factors which can have a positive or negative influence on the the success of L&D. These include:
1. Temperature. Above-average temperatures in classrooms - between 23
°C and 26
°C - cause significant reductions in reading speed and comprehension, according to a number of research studies summarised in a report by physical facilities expert Glen Earthman. One of the studies prescribes classroom temperatures between 20
°C and 23
°C for optimum learning.
2. Noise. The studies also show that learning is impaired when the classroom is noisy. One study cited by Earthman concludes that the maximum desirable noise level is 40 decibels. (Compare that with the averages of 90 dB+ for bars and nightclubs - or electric drills, 85 dB for a subway train going at full speed, 70 dB for restaurants at their busy hours, and 60 dB for normal conversation.)
3. Lighting. Not only does inadequate lighting make it hard to see, it can also literally put your trainees to sleep. According to a compilation of research done by the University of Georgia's School Design and Planning Laboratory, dim lighting causes muscles to relax and blood pressure and respiration rates to drop, with the result that the student or trainee tends to nod off.
4. General upkeep. Several studies cited by Earthman show not only that students/trainees learn more effectively in facilities that have been well maintained, but also that the teachers/trainers perform more effectively. Apparently, everybody feels the morale boost of learning in a clean and attractive environment.
5. A team effort. Within an organisation, physical facilities may well not be under the control of the same person who's responsible for training. This means that if you're going to positively affect the training environment, you'll have to liaise with others.
Sources: http://www.schoolfunding.info/resource_center/legal_docs/California/Williams_Experts_Reports/Williams_Earthman_report_Facilities.pdf; http://sdpl.coe.uga.edu/researchabstracts/visual.html
- Dave Clemens is a senior writer for Rapid Learning Institute and writes The HR Café Blog.
It's not just the quality of content which helps us learn. There must also be a comfortable environment to facilitate the L&D process.