Environmental Psychology: A Trainer's Wish List

By Sweet, George | Training & Development Journal, April 1989 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Environmental Psychology: A Trainer's Wish List

Sweet, George, Training & Development Journal

Arranging the Training Room--and the Trainer

Like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, good trainers are always prepared. But preparing a lesson plan isn't enough. For a truly successful training session, you also need to create an atmosphere--and a trainer--that are conductive to learning.

For example, have you considered your training room? Have you taken a good look at the lighting conditions, the windows, the noise level, and the seating arrangement?

OK, maybe you don't have much choice in the matter. Maybe this is the only room available. Maybe management won't let you cut a few windows, install new lighting, and knock out a wall or two. You still should be aware of how the training environment may be affecting your session. And, you should know of a few simple and inexpensive ways to manipulate the environment to make the most of what you've got.

Now take a look at yourself. An experienced actress, director, and trainer tells you how to prepare yourself--body, mind, and voice--for the podium.

Environmental Psychology: a Trainer's Wish List

Training is a multifaceted area. A training program with crystal-clear objectives and audiovisual materials more advanced than a science-fiction movie can still fail if the trainer does not take into account the effects of the training environment. Environmental psychology seeks to determine the dimensions of the environment that influence human activities. The goal is to match the physical environment with the people using it.

The merger of environmental psychology and training is appropriate. In order to achieve high levels of interaction, the trainer must make the participants feel comfortable in the classroom environment; that goal can be achieved by using the principles of environmental psychology.

Shedding light on the subject The belief that reading in poorly lit areas can damage your eyes is a myth. However, good lighting conditions can enhance reading performance. Different people have different preferences about lighting, so it is best to have varying intensities of light in a training facility. A training room with uniform lighting is dull; contrast stimulates the learners' sense of vision. But, although contrasts of light are beneficial to the classroom environment, extreme contrasts should be avoided; they can cause eye strain, tiredness, and general discomfort.

As a general rule, brightly lit areas attract attention. Therefore, materials used in training should be at least as bright as the surrounding areas. You can manipulate the environment by increasing or decreasing the amount of light in certain areas, thereby controlling the focus of attention. For example, you may want to have chalkboards lit more brightly than the walls of the classroom.

Not everybody has perfect eyesight; help those who don't by increasing the intensity of light or moving visual aids closer to vision-impaired participants.

There are two main types of lighting--natural and artificial. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Natural light (sunlight) ] is free; ] can be controlled by blinds and curtains; ] can cause glare; ] is unpredictable.

Artificial light (incandescent or flourescent) ] can be controlled by a switch; ] can be costly; ] can cause fatigue and headaches; ] produces a cold, detached atmosphere.

Trainers should attempt to use natural light as the main light source, with artificial light to emphasize certain areas of the environment. Windows on at least two adjacent walls will give you the greatest amount of sunlight. Walls with windows should be painted light colors to avoid sharp contrasts with the sunlight.

As the quality of lighting increases, so does student performance. High-quality lighting makes people more comfortable and allows them to identify words more easily when reading.

A room with a view Most people prefer buildings with windows to buildings without windows.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Environmental Psychology: A Trainer's Wish List


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?