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Continuing Education Units

Sharing our research, knowledge and insights.

We’re always interested in learning and research, so it’s natural for Franklin Interiors to be an avid supporter of continuing education for architects, designers, educators, and students.

Courses are offered in five categories of learning:

  • Sustainability
  • Industry-Specific
  • Healthcare
  • Surface Materials
  • General Learning


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Materials Choices-Part 1 (also available for GBCI Credit)

Some things that we take for granted as “good” – or things that we think have made our lives easier…haven’t. When we come to a deeper understanding of a particular material that is in a product or a particular process that is used to create a new product, we begin to realize the impact of the choices we make each day. It’s why we are here today – to explore how the material choices we make – as consumers, architects, designers, facilities managers, project managers…each day – can have either a positive or negative impact on human health, and the health of the planet.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Materials Choices-Part 2 (also available for GBCI credit)

This one hour course explores 4 different materials that we come in contact with each day as consumers and professionals: BisphenolA (BPA); Formaldehyde; Biocides; Adhesives. We’ll follow a pattern in this course for each material: what is it? How is it used? How are we exposed? What are the human and environmental health concerns? What are alternatives? How can you help?

Navigating Certifications – The Basics (also available for GBCI credit)

This one-hour course will take a look at the basics of certification development. The course explores the players, such as authors, standards and guidelines, and certifying bodies; and factors, such as scope of certification and market applicability. This course will explore how the characteristics of a certification can help decision makers and influencers determine the right certification to choose.

Waste Management Strategies Part 1: Recycling (also available for GBCI credit)

This course is designed to review recycling in context of other waste management strategies. The course will review why informed decision-making around recycled content and recyclability could impact how manufacturers design their products. We’ll review definitions associated with recycling and the trade-offs that may be associated with various choices. We’ll also review the means and methods of recycling; explore how recycling fits into the cradle to cradle philosophy; and discuss the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides for green marketing claims.

Industry Specific

Hospitality-Supporting Emerging Work Patterns in Hotel Spaces

The nature of work has changed in recent years. Constant connectivity and mobile technologies allow work to take place anywhere, anytime. The lines between our professional and personal lives have blurred and this has increased the importance of 3rd places. After home and office, 3rd places are anywhere you choose to get work done. Professionals and organizations are relying increasingly on 3rd places, often hotels, to keep pace with the demands of business. At Steelcase, we believe effective, welcoming 3rd places give hotels an opportunity to increase guest satisfaction and gain a competitive edge.Legal Research

This course is a hands-on session that dives deep into the current trends in the legal sector – from private office and case rooms to client facing spaces. Topics include trends in the legal industry, workflow, technology and collaboration. The session also discusses design principles and offers several thought starters designed to stimulate brainstorming on how to rethink conventional applications.

Private Office Research

This course is a summary of our latest research findings in the Private Office. It shares new design principles and guidelines that address private office user needs. Also stimulates brainstorming on how to rethink private office applications

Understanding Wood and Wood Furniture

This is a hands-on course that explores the transformation of wood from the forest to furniture, including unique properties of wood and species of wood veneers. Includes cutting methods to achieve different patterns and lay-up techniques; Wood solids characteristics and where used; and construction methods and finishing techniques.


Adult Acute Care

How do you leverage the design of acute care environments to support best practices in clinical care while meeting the often unnamed and unmet needs of all its different users? Using a human-centered design research process, Nurture investigates the role of the built environment in subjects including effective rounding and handoffs, the role of family members in the clinical environment and the use of checklists in safe care delivery.

The Case for Evidence-Based Design

This EDAC-accredited/CEU-certified presentation delves into the key elements, origins and current challenges of evidence-based design. Participants will see real-life examples of hospitals and architecture/design firms that are applying this design approach to achieve specific, measurable outcomes—and generating evidence that guides decisions throughout the healthcare community.

Design for Healing

Steelcase has been working with the healthcare market for over 80 years, meeting both on- and off-carpet needs. As students of the workplace, we make it a point to listen, learn, and share our knowledge with potential customers as well as existing customers. So, we asked our researchers to take a closer look at the inpatient hospital floor from a user-centered point of view. With expertise in user-centered design, the team explored the inpatient hospital floor from multiple perspectives: patient, visitor, care provider and administrator. The research identified eight principles that directly affect the design of an inpatient hospital floor. This seminar will explore those principles, and discuss how we can customize them to your specific needs.

Environments for Cancer Care

Statistics indicate that the number people living with or surviving cancer will increase 81% between 2000 and 2020. At the same time, the number of patient visits provided by oncologists is expected to increase by only 14% by 2020, due to a shortage of practitioners. How will your clients compete for qualified clinicians? How will they compete for patients? And even more importantly, how will they take care of those patients and the people who will care for them? This seminar will discuss the critical issues affecting oncology care environments and the needs of staff, patients, and care partners.

Experiences in Outpatient Care

This course is intended to share the latest research on the critical issues affecting outpatient care delivery and the needs of patients, caregivers and partners in care. Architects and designers are introduced to our research methodology, real stories from our observations, and the insights and concepts generated from that work. All with the intent to help understand the deep connection between the outpatient care experience and physical space.

Rx for Pharmacies

The American Pharmacists’ Association reported that more than 1.5 million preventable medication-related adverse events occur each year in the United States. The number of outpatient prescriptions and inpatient orders increases every year, but the number of pharmacists available for hire is decreasing. By 2020, there will be 157,000 unfilled pharmacy openings. How will your pharmacy cope with the pressures of meeting increased demand with fewer employees? Can the design of your pharmacy help in your efforts to become safer and more efficient? This course will help you better understand the critical issues affecting pharmacy environments and the needs of clinical and pharmacy staff.

Surface Material

Global Warming and Carbon Footprint Reduction

This course examines the impact of climate change on human and environmental health, and demonstrates how sustainable practices can be leveraged to mitigate global warming. Attendees will learn the scopes and boundaries for defining a carbon footprint. Business efforts to mitigate climate change will be discussed, such as onsite reductions in energy use and offsite investments in renewable energy. The difference between RECs and carbon offsets is demonstrated, as well as the criteria for validating carbon offset projects. Different types of offset projects will be discussed.

Green Textiles

This course is an introduction to “green” terminology, organizations, and a “green” evaluation method using textiles and surfaces as the example. This course helps with understanding environmental attributes that are accounted for with product design, to explain ways in which a product can be classified as “green,” and understand the balance required to develop a product against other design objectives.

General Learning


There are many distractions in the workplace that affect productivity. Surveys indicate that noise tops that list, and it’s a very subjective issue; meaning that managing expectations is just as important as implementing an appropriate solution. This presentation is an opportunity to share some of what we have learned from our projects that can help improve the acoustical environments. By reviewing the basics of sound control, you will learn about the options available to minimize distracting noise, and improve the overall acoustical quality of the space.

Call Center Trends

Call centers are moving from the back room, to center stage. For some organizations it is discovered that the call center operation can be a profit center, not just a cost center with a shift from reducing cost to being front line for product and service offerings to customers. Organizations continue to better understand the importance of employee recognition, as call center employees what to be part of a team. Additionally, organizations see the importance of a “fit” healthy environment. This presentation will review the top ten trends that we have seen influencing the design of call centers. We will also share design principles and thoughtstarters based on our research globally.

Classroom Insights/Harder Working Learning Spaces 1.0a

This is the first course in a series of the Evidence-based Education Design Curriculum. At a basic level the major issues for designing instructional settings will be addressed. They are: why does space matter; what’s wrong; what changed; why now; why do we need to understand what behaviors are desirable; what does a harder working instructional setting look like; how do we design for it; when does change happen? Questions use EBD research, best practice, primary and secondary research sources sharing issues and design solutions. This “classroom insights.basics” course provides an overview of these content areas: Historical context; Learning theories; Environment behavior theories; Instructional design methodologies; Learning environment insights

Classroom Insights/Application Basics 1.0b

This is the second course in a series of the Evidence-based Education Design Curriculum, which will allow you to generate an awareness (level one of Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning) level of learning. The classroom is a complicated space and basic background information is important for creating awareness. As a result of taking this course, you should be able to: Become aware of the demands that pedagogy (or teaching methods) has on both the physical layout and the furnishings; Describe why general purpose classrooms are the work horses of any institution and why they are the most difficult for which to design; Recognize the importance and problems associated with room layout and orientation; Describe the physical and cognitive needs relative to view planes; Describe how fixed, flexible and fluid layouts can either support or become the barrier for delivering activity-based methods; Explain why design makes a difference. Each course in the basic series will build a foundation relative to the new paradigm shift we have defined as the new ecosystem -pedagogy / technology / space.

Classroom Insights LearnLab 2.0

This course looks at trends such as: accountability for learning outcomes, attracting and retaining students & faculty, creating living & learning environments, technology everywhere, increasing expectations of students & parents, learning is social – must engage students, building community in the classrooms, enabling the practice of 21st century learning skills and uses a research process to invent and then improve upon a new classroom design.

Classrooms for the 21st Century

Last century’s classroom design was fine for rote memorization. The 21st century classroom must nurture collaboration and hands-on learning. The student body is more diverse, and includes more nontraditional students. A whole newer generation, Gen Y, is bringing new tools, attitudes, and learning styles to campus. Steelcase has studied the learning spaces of higher education: classrooms, labs, libraries and other spaces where learning occurs. We have developed a deep understanding of the classroom and the needs of students, faculty and administrators. Based on our findings and insights, we have developed innovative applications for higher education classrooms that we would like to share with you.

Environment Behavior Basics

We have studied how we work in the corporate world for years. As designers begin to really develop solutions for learning spaces, it is important to have a basic understanding of how the environment impacts behaviors. The purpose is so we can design intentionally for the behaviors we want to promote. This course is a very “light” overview of that research. As a result of taking this course, you should be able to generate an awareness level of the theories of environment behavior relative to: Situational behaviors; Personal space; Territoriality

Ergonomics for the Mobile Workforce

As work becomes much more collaborative it is taking individuals out of their owned spaces, into shared or temporary work settings. The impact of the migration presents workers and their employers with a whole new set of ergonomic challenges. Ones that are proving as harmful as those faced with the introduction of the desk top. There is a need to arm our mobile workforce and the companies that employ them with ergonomic information that will help everyone make smart choices about how and where work happens. Ergonomics for a Mobile Workforce is a course designed to show individuals how to evaluate their risks and make the right choices about their work habits. It also illustrates ways to design work environments which can anticipate the variety of individual and task needs. The goal for both being to prevent injury before it happens.

The Evolution of Benching

In North America, the trend to bench has been catching on fast because it’s a hard-working solution that addresses converging business realities, especially:  1) today’s workplace culture that prefers collaboration and networking to closed-off cubicles; and 2) the pressing need to curb real estate costs and adapt spaces quickly to changing business conditions and needs. Steelcase began conducting primary and secondary research on benching in 2008, including in-depth case studies with 10 clients, six in the U.S. and four in Europe.

Gen Y: US/India/China

As residents of the world’s hottest centers of economic growth, young people in India and China are breaking new ground while surrounded by traditions. Providing the best workplaces for these workers starts with understanding what their generation is all about. To better understand the newest generation of workers in these two important countries, Steelcase completed primary research projects in India and China in 2010, building on methodologies and insights from a previous study of Generation Y workers in North America. That study, completed in 2009, documented a significant influence on both work and the workplace that’s underway in the U.S. due to Gen Y characteristics and their pervasive influence on the other three generations of workers in North American workplaces.

Hidden Value of Certifications

With the proliferation of environmental certifications becoming available, this course will focus on demystifying three certifications: FSC, Fair Trade, and Rugmark: highlighting the purpose of each and illustrating how they benefit society at large as well as helping the attendees have a better understanding on what the certifications they use to guide product selection on projects means to their customers.

Innovation in the Workplace

This seminar focuses on the findings of secondary and primary research conducted by Steelcase, which included observation studies with clients that helped to identify innovation behaviors and processes in actual work settings. Adopting methodologies from anthropology and other social sciences, Steelcase’s Applied Research Consultants and WorkSpace Futures teams, in collaboration with architects, designers and corporations worldwide, are discovering new insights into the types of spaces that work hardest to support meaningful interactions, foster collaboration, and deliver on innovation.

The Interconnected Workplace: Is Your Workplace Ready?

Our perspective about the changing dynamics of the world, work, workers and the workplace is based on the same research process that our Workspace Futures team uses. We conduct extensive secondary research, as well as review all of the primary research Steelcase has done, and conducted interviews with key executives. We study all of these macros trends and then look for patterns as we synthesize all of the available data. Then we study the implications of this on the workplace, and the key issues that are resulting and need to be solved for. In this study we will provide you an overview of the key trends and workplace issues, as well as some ideas we have on how to think about, and design for, the kind of workplace that organizations need to thrive in this interconnected world we’ll live in. We refer to it as an “interconnected workplace” and we’ll show you a concept and framework that we have developed in order to support the ideas we believe are relevant and significant.

Learning Spaces: Supporting Emerging User Patterns

The Steelcase WorkSpace Futures team recently conducted research on the area of corporate learning. The central question for the projects was, “In an ever changing, connected economy, how will learning spaces evolve?” Customers participating in the research were from industries such as consulting, financial services, technology, and manufacturing. This exploration builds on our extensive research in the area of higher education and classrooms along with our learnings from our workplace and hospitality studies. As well, we’ve learned quite a bit from our own corporate learning environment, the Steelcase University Learning Center.

Modern Danish

Today’s design has been influenced by designers from many different places with vastly different backgrounds. This is an opportunity to focus on Danish designers, specifically Hans Wegner, and how craftsmanship, drive for perfection, and simple but clean designs have influenced modern design. Through this course you should expect to gain an intimate understanding of the Danish Masters, who they are, and how their modern yet classic designs continue to seize the design world’s attention today.

Moveable Walls

Private spaces are constructed in buildings every day. Traditional, fixed construction does a fine job meeting the initial needs of a space. Moveable walls are a flexible, sustainable, cost-effective alternative to traditional construction. This course is an opportunity to learn how moveable walls not only provide a solution with built-in flexibility, but also provides first-cost effective alternatives to conventional construction that simplify the planning and construction process. A solution that considers life-cycle costs and the inevitability of the needs of a space changing all while being considerate of the earth as well.

The Movement Toward Wellness in the Workplace

There are a lot of good things about the current approach to office ergonomics. However, emerging trends and new insights are calling into question the traditional view of ergonomics. Businesses today are taking a more proactive approach to employee wellness in the workplace. But has office ergonomics kept pace? Up until today, ergonomics in the office has been somewhat reactive, focusing only on the physical science and the prevention of injury. Today, we look to expand the ergonomic lens to one that includes the impact of three different, yet related sciences—physical, cognitive, and social—making a “complete” ergonomic workspace and program look vastly different than what it’s ever been before.

The New Work Day

The rapid pace of technological innovation, emerging globalization, a volatile economy and diversity never before seen are driving unprecedented change in the workplace. Understanding what is happening and how it impacts workers, the workplace and companies is critical to developing competitive advantage in a these challenging times. Our research is based on evidentiary truths. The way people work has indeed changed, and it will continue to do so. It is a constantly evolving change and we have to stay ahead of the trends. By understanding what is new we feel we can better anticipate impending change and be better prepared for the future of work. In this presentation we want to share some of the reasons, the reactions, and the realities of the new work day.

Observation Workshop

Standard sources of information such as annual reports, brochures and organizational charts provide hard facts about an organization that help a designer begin the planning process. However, Steelcase, along with many leading design firms, believes that understanding the complexities of relationships and work processes is crucial to a successful design outcome. Uncovering this type of information is possible by employing observation techniques and organizing what is “seen” in ways that are useful to the client and the designer.

Wellbeing at Work

We realize this is a somewhat provocative statement. But with the growing attention on the issue of worker wellbeing, and the rising awareness of the economics of the issue, perhaps questions like this will help to cause a ‘reset’ in terms of thinking about how the workplace can actually help. We know there are studies about how the workplace can hurt, so maybe it’s time to start thinking about what it takes to create an environment designed for the holistic wellbeing of the people who work there. There’s a growing effort to consider how we can become more resilient … to rebound from a negative situation by actually becoming better than where we started. So we believe we have a responsibility to not just stem the rising cost of healthcare, we believe we have a responsibility as employers and global citizens to help people be healthier than they are now. Let’s talk about how your companies or your customers are addressing this issue. Some might call it wellness. Others call it something else. What approaches are you seeing?

The Work of Pedagogy: A Paradigm Shift 1.0c

We have studied how we work in the corporate world for years. As designers begin to really develop solutions for classroom designs, it is important to begin to understand the work that goes into the preparation and delivery of instruction. This course is a very “light” overview of that work.