Cluster Style Seating without Tables Figure 518

Setup

Arrange chairs in groups of two to eight throughout the training room so that small groups can assemble to brainstorm, discuss issues, or role-play.

Maximum no. of participants

Limited by room size, planned activities, and number of facilitators. There should be a minimum of one facilitator per 20 participants to monitor activities and provide feedback and control. Each facilitator should monitor no more than three groups in order to ensure that teams remain on task, that all questions are answered, and that timely feedback is provided.

Advantages

Provides an opportunity for small group interaction.

Practical application and skill practice can occur with immediate feedback from peers and a facilitator.

Idea exchange and peer coaching are encouraged.

Potentially reduces anxiety for learners who have difficulty asking questions or expressing thoughts in front of larger groups.

Fosters strong networking and teambuilding.

Can lead to a high-energy environment.

Facilitates experiential, active learning.

Disadvantages

Can be a noisy environment.

FIGURE 5-18. Cluster style seating (without tables)

Requires an assistant facilitator to help monitor activities. Notetaking is difficult because there are no writing surfaces.

Attention is dispersed between different groups and facilitators may miss opportunities to observe and give feedback to all learners.

Time is lost in forming small groups for activities, then reassembling the larger group for discussion.

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