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New Lecture Hall for The Health Academy supports mission for safe, effective and compassionate care through educational excellence.
The Health Academy based at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust operates from three specialised educational units based at Chorley and Preston hospitals. The upgrade of the large lecture theatre at Royal Preston Hospital is part of a rolling enhancement of facilities designed to support the Health Academy’s mission for safe, effective and compassionate care through educational excellence.
The lecture hall accommodates up to 130 in traditional tiered seating style, and its use for mandatory training, visiting lectures and events results in over 500 people a week passing through the venue.
Before the refurbishment, students were faced with uncomfortable seating and poor audio and image clarity, the old system struggled to cope with sometimes complex medical imagery and increased usage of high definition content.
For regular room users like Kenny Lyon, Head of Mandatory Education for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, audio was an issue as the need for content to be heard would result in audio quality being sacrificed to volume,
“In the old days when running a media clip we would be forced to have the volume very loud at the front so that people at the back of the room could hear. Now you don’t have to do that you can have the volume set a reasonable level but everybody can hear it throughout the room."
To improve audio quality, Pure AV introduced new radio mics. An acoustic survey of the room ensured speaker placement and audio levels were optimised and the introduction of a Extron DMP 128 DSP provides the on-site audio visual team with additional audio control; enabling program and microphone audio to be distributed separately and effectively, for an enhanced listening experience.
The front of room is designed to offer ease of use for the presenter and to create an engaging experience for the audience. The three audience facing displays create a flexible canvas for content delivery. A large central projection screen provides the core presentation space and two 65” Philips signage screens positioned either side offer an area for supporting content, branding or for the integration of live content such as twitter walls. The screens also provide the Trust with an opportunity to promote the branding of visiting companies alongside their presentation content.
Control for the presenter is kept straight forward with a 7” Extron touch panel designed using Health Academy assets and programmed by Pure AV to offer a simple user interface. The addition of a 43” screen facing the lectern as a confidence monitor further enhances the presenter experience. The size and wall mounted position of this additional monitor allows the presenter to move freely on the stage and still see the content on the screen.
An additional 7” control panel is situated in the former projection booth at the rear of the hall and can be operated by the on-site technicians to support more technically complex presentations or events.
Mike Porter, Senior Educational Technologies Support for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals explained,
Making use of the side screens was an interesting new concept particularly when we run interactive events with a live social media wall…people can take questions both from the audience and from people watching online. It’s also great for the display of supporting content, referring to an X-ray for example; you can pull that image up onto the main screen but keep the presentation running on the side displays.
The system installed by Pure AV also offers the ability for lecture capture and live streaming and the team at The Health Academy expect the demand for both to continue to grow as they explore new ways to manage mandatory training modules, accommodate high profile guest speakers and support collaboration with other sites and institutions.
The upgrade to the lecture theatre has already generated a lot of positive feedback as Education Centre Manager, Dorcas Walker explained,
We’ve had really excellent feedback, people really appreciate the effort that’s been taken into designing the space, both the physical improvements and the audiovisual experience. The equipment we have performs better and the controls for the audiovisual system are very easy to use and very user friendly. We now look forward to when we have an event on and we feel confident that we have a high quality product that we can sell, especially to external users, which is good for The Trust.
The positive impact of the new space on the Heath Academy is something that Mike Porter is keen to confirm,
I’d say the upgrade has had a very beneficial effect on the Health Academy, particularly when people see how modern it looks but at the same time is not intimidating to new users. It offers a great vision for the future and the exploration of new ways to teach. I think it’s opened a lot of people’s eyes to what we can do within our learning spaces to support the Heath Academy’s mission for safe, effective and compassionate care through educational excellence.