4 Ways to Design Learning Spaces That Foster Engagement

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We’ve talked about the best way to create a personal learning environment and how to create a company culture that embraces training. But when talking about actual, physical space, the discussion shifts a little. While the cultural tone and the availability of digital learning can definitely enhance a learner’s experience, the way your space is set up could be a help–or a roadblock.

You don’t need a total office makeover; just a few changes to the way you see your learning spaces could be enough to really enhance your training. Here are four simple ways to make sure your learners’ physical space is just as creative and energizing as the content itself.

If you’re ready to give your learners a new learning program, let us know here

1. Change the Layout

Stiff and stodgy digs were the way of the past, but today, a more free-flowing workspace often works better. Think about it: If you’re feeling totally uninspired, getting up, moving around, and maybe even finding a new place to sit could be a simple way to get juices flowing again. Learners who feel locked into their cubicle space may feel painted into a corner.

At ELM, we’ve adopted a more open office layout. This gives team members more control over their environment, and, if they feel like they need to, the ability to move around and find what works best for them. Cubicles can serve as barriers to learning, so take down the walls and you’ll enjoy a better exchange of ideas.

2. Check Your Environment

A personal learning environment usually refers to an ecosystem that exists in your organization. But when it comes to physical space, the environment can also mean the types of desks, tech, and equipment used. Think outside the desk and come up with learning spaces that really inspire. Some of our employees swear by standing desks, while others are more content on a couch. Working tech–think headphones and monitors–are readily available and easy to avoid disruption of learning flow.

3. Use Color

Certain colors actual stimulate brain function and can be used to encourage better learning. The Association for Talent Development, for example, suggests using the color red to pull focus, increase energy, and improve mental performance. Need to make sure learners are thinking critically? Opt for orange accents in your digital learning and around the room. Orange can also increase memory, while blue is usually seen as a color for creativity.

The colors you use in your physical space could be more than just décor choices. By matching a color with the desired learner outcome, you might see a bump in performance.

4. Think Outside the Office

Learners need a space to practice their skills, particularly if they’re working in a client-facing position. Some retailers actually create mock-ups of their retail stores on location, with real products and tech for users to try for themselves. By giving users a more hands-on experience, they can feel free to test, fail, and excel, while also becoming more proficient in products and location-based information.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the office when designing spaces that are ideal for learning. A retail mock-up might work, but holding meetings in a park might be effective for smaller companies that feel stifled. It’s all about giving learners the space to experience trial and error and to test out new strategies for themselves.

Hold off on calling the interior designer; creating the ideal learning space doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul. Simply looking around your current workspace and identifying roadblocks could be enough to alert you to potential problems. By creating a space that encourages collaboration and innovation, you get the most out of every learning experience.