5 Edgy Ideas for Educational Seating

By Erin Deinzer, May 31, 2017

Just as educators are constantly looking for better ways to communicate, planners are always looking for new educational seating ideas. The point? To keep the audience engaged in an increasingly mobile world and also encourage learning. By focusing on influencing the ABCs of group interactions—attitude, behavior and change—you’ll be on your way to success.

5 New Educational Seating Ideas

1. Jeff Hurt, executive vice president of education and engagement at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, says successful seating leads to transformational learning. As such, he sets up his “Space Matters” sessions as several “rooms” within one larger room, leading to more focused interactions among segmented groups and during subgroup work sessions.

2. Steve Bales, creative director at Bold American Events, recently pitched multitiered seating to a hotel management client to encourage a more relaxed environment for learning. The idea is to set up decking within a ballroom. On each tier, consider large beanbag chairs for people to sit on, alongside trays to hold drinks and snacks.

3. Fishbowl seating is making a comeback. This configuration places two facilitators in the center of a circle with double rows of chairs surrounding them. Minimizing the role of the leaders, it provides a sense of openness and encourages one-on-one interactions.

Educational Seating silent 4. Similar to the silent disco concept (where people dance while listening to music via wireless headphones), silent sessions are being utilized for educational purposes. Attendees sit on communal couches while they listen to the presentation through headsets—sans any auditory distractions.

5. Seating concepts aren’t limited to indoor spaces. Chris Gasbarro, owner and president of creative agency Ember, recently took a group by helicopter to a meadow in southwest Colorado. Once there, they sat in folding camp chairs while the president of a manufacturing company conducted a campfire conversation with 24 customers.

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