4 Key Advantages of Purpose-Built Learning Centers

The National Conference Center in Leesburg, VA

The environment has changed for in-person learning and training programs. From now on, we’ll think differently about how, when, where, and why we come together for face-to-face learning and meetings.

As your organization prepares to transition back to some version of in-person learning, you must shift your thinking and your priorities when it comes to selecting your learning venue. In the wake of COVID-19,  safety and minimizing risk become your number-one considerations.

Your site selection checklist should now include several new boxes that speak to sanitation protocol, building access, and traffic patterns. You should also consider the venue type and purpose, as well as the mix of business served by the venue. When you do, you’ll likely find that purpose-built learning centers are the best option for your learning program. Here are four key reasons why:

Controlled Environment

Single-purpose learning venues serve a specific audience: meetings, training, and learning programs. Because they concentrate on servicing an audience that shares common goals, objectives, and purpose, learning centers are able to create highly controlled, professional, and safe environments that support the reason for in-person gatherings.

Learning facilities, such as The National Conference Center, are able to effectively manage the flow of guests in and around the facility by utilizing both indoor and outdoor spaces, sectioning off areas for different groups, and channeling traffic flow appropriately. This encourages physical distancing, limits unnecessary interaction between groups, and enables scheduled cleaning throughout the duration of the program.


Residential Setting 

Single-purpose learning centers are typically self-contained in a campus-like setting that is void of distractions, encourages focused learning, and provides a safe environment.

The campus setting creates opportunities for outdoor classrooms, breakouts, and even social gatherings. Because the CDC has said the transmission of COVID-19 is significantly reduced when outdoors, the presence of outdoor gathering areas at learning centers is now an even more important advantage.

Because of their single purpose for gathering, learning centers also provide privacy in a way that hotels cannot. The only guests on campus are those participating in learning programs and following a predetermined agenda. For even more privacy — and to further limit interaction — learning centers offer a unique opportunity to literally “own” the entire facility. This exclusive use is referred to as a “house buyout,” where all space, services, and amenities are dedicated to a singular organization.

Purposeful Design

Purpose-built learning centers offer an abundance of classrooms, meeting rooms, and breakout spaces. They also feature an intentional separation of spaces devoted to learning, living, and leisure. This enables structured traffic flow and crowd control throughout your program and separation from other programs that are sharing the learning center. 

Beyond the physical design, the staffing, equipment, and operations also support the learning program. Classrooms and breakouts, for example, are provided on a 24-hour basis so that your participants have ease of access and consistency from day to day. And because the space is being used for your program only, containment and cleaning follow your agenda.

Self-Contained Services

Because these purpose-built learning centers are designed specifically to support the learning and training programs, the facilities include learning technology, multimedia equipment, and, most importantly, the staff to operate and service the equipment. This is crucial because it eliminates the need for these products and services to be outsourced to outside vendors who would need to access the campus and enter the classrooms.

Large venues like The National Conference Center, which maintains over 150 classrooms, provide a significant technology inventory as well as the expertise to support full show production and run of show in-house. With today’s shift to blended or hybrid programming, these purpose-driven venues have the staff and know-how to assist you in delivering effective live streams and virtual meetings.  

This same self-containment advantage is prevalent for other services as well. Some venues, such as The National, offer on-site Food and Beverage operations, full-service US Post Office and warehouse services, and 24/7 security staff. These on-site services offer an even higher level of control over your program.

A safe environment is dependent on everything from a well-defined cleaning protocol to an awareness of who is coming into the learning environment. Control is key. A multi-purpose venue simply cannot offer the same level of control as a single-purpose learning center. So when you are ready to deliver in-person learning or a hybrid program, consider these four advantages provided by the purpose-built learning center.

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