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Training rooms to learn Open Source programming

The designer incorporates a dimmer. The engineer removes the starter. The trainer shifts the room around. All solutions that I've seen to the lighting of training rooms.

We've used self-lighting projection systems for many years ... in the 1990s and prior to that, courses were presented through a series of viewfoils (or OHPs) through which light was shone to project them onto a screen, with a large lightbox and a lens that threw the light through 90 degrees onto a screen or wall. These days, viewfoils are nearly extinct, and we're projecting off the screens of PCs. Light output has risen from a few hundred lumen to several thousand, and the intelligence of the units and their resolution has risen too, even as their cost falls.

Yet - still - a poorly planned training room, with a fluorescent tube pouring light onto the screen, distracts from the presentation all too often. And when you come to switch off that tube - guess what - it's all too often tied in with the lighting in the rest of the room in such a way that your audience can EITHER see the board OR they can see their own notes - not both as the trainer does his best to compromise between a flood of light throughout and a theatre-style darkness.

I've been giving a C++ course to Engineers in Milton Keynes for the last couple of days, in a room that triggered this article, so of course we've removed the starter. Today and through to the end of the week, I'm in our own training room at Well House Manor in Melksham, giving an advanced Perl course. Being our own room, it's been designed with a separate dimmer on the lights that shine on the projection board, and lighting's not really an issue.

Our old training room was excellent ... but our new one's even better. Once again, we're projecting onto a special wall rather than a screen that waves in the breeze, but now the wall is also usable as a whiteboard. Not only can I throw up code on the screen, but I can also write all over it to show how it runs, or use the extended area around the picture to make points and then "arrow" them onto the diagram being projected to show how the points are implemented.

And we've moved up from 'just' a large whiteboard to white, writeable, walls through a half of the room. After just a month, I'm finding that it's making a real good difference in my training; that I'm able to cover (say) regular expressions on the 2nd day of a four day course, then leave my notes on the board as a reminder right through to the course end. By the door, there's a narrow band - about a foot wide - on which I've taken to writing notes of subjects that I've promised to return to during the course, but which I can't appropriately cover early on when, perhaps, the question was originally asked.


There's plenty more to having a good training environment than just the projector. This view shows how we've maximised the space that's available for each delegate, yet left each with a good view to the screen and plenty of circulation space too.

(written 2006-11-15, updated 2009-01-01)

 
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  [2003] Discount Training Courses - PHP, Perl, Python - (2009-01-21)
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M101 - Well House Manor - Business Accommodation in Melksham
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  [1907] Melksham Hotel Rates - (2008-11-25)
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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