The physical, cultural and social environment has a significant impact on the effectiveness of any training. Attention to the following issues will help ensure your workshop will be more potent and pleasant for you and all participants.
- The main training space should accommodate the entire group – comfortably. The group will be active, moving around the space, working in small groups, etc.
- We need a “U” shape of comfortable chairs. (Please, not chairs at tables, and not classroom style seating.) Depending on the number of participants, we might have to have two rows in a “U”? A few extra chairs would be helpful.
- All training spaces, bathrooms and eating space should be accessible to participants or trainers who use a wheelchair, walker or crutches. Please, see the additional notes regarding accessibility below.
- One or two (1-2) small tables for the trainers’ use.
- For some workshops we need a small break-out room that can accommodate at least half the participants. (This, too, should have windows or incandescent lighting.)
- Depending on the program topic there maybe other space needs.
- 2 sturdy easels with flipcharts / newsprint pads.
- Name tags, (if prepared ahead of time: please, just LARGE first names,) masking tape, bullet or chisel-tip, non-toxic markers, 2 boxes of tissues.
- A good quality CD player, loud and clear enough for everyone to hear well in the space we are using; and an extension cord. We will be playing music and want the words to be audible. (We have permission from all musicians to use their music.)
- We do NOT use powerpoint, but for some sessions may need a VCR / DVD player.
- The training team will need to get into the training space an hour early the first day of the workshop.
in the broadest sense of the term.
It is essential that accessibility issues be considered EARLY in the planning process. These are all justice issues – and will often determine who is able / not able to participate in your program. Full access is good for every-body!
Location – and Physical Space Planning
- Is there physical access to the building, training room and restrooms for anyone with a mobility disability, using a wheelchair, walker, crutches or pushing a stroller?
- Is there public transportation available? If not, consider what transportation services can be made available and how will they be advertised?
- When setting up the room, for example creating a circle of chairs, be sure there are openings large enough for everyone to use and that you allow enough space between chairs.
- Use comfortable chairs – sitting in folding chairs for hours limits brain activity!
- Will the training space acoustics or ambient noise levels make hearing difficult for some?
- NO fluorescent lighting in the training room(s.) Incandescent and natural lighting, please. If site has only fluorescent lighting, please, supply the room with sufficient portable incandescent lamps to adequately light the space. Rooms with windows are much preferred to windowless spaces.
- If there are any chemically sensitive participants, choose a site that uses appropriate cleaning products.
- Request that participants refrain from using scented body products.
- Are there cultural holidays/worship days to notice or avoid booking?
- If you have flexibility, time the start and end of the program to match the public transit schedule.
- Can no or low cost childcare be provided? Are there child or elder care related scheduling issues?
Advertising, Information and Training Materials
- Are the training information and materials accessible?
- Produce advertising and training materials in larger print (minimum 14 point font.)
- Will anyone need language interpretation or translation services?
- Do interpreters or translators wish to have an outline of the session beforehand? (Or information or language that will be used?)
Care and Feeding of Participants
- Provide lunch at the training site, since sending the participants out for a meal in the middle of the training interferes with flow, timing and will require a much longer break than eating in-house.
- If you offer food, be sure to plan around all the necessary food requirements for the group. Can you address health issues (limited sugar, etc.) religious or cultural food needs (including vegan/vegetarian) by having several choices available?
- Snacks and drinks are welcoming and help participants stay focused.
The most important thing is to be clear – tell participants what will and won’t be available during the training so they can meet their own needs.