Flip Chart Easels – Four Factors to Consider When Choosing One

Flip Chart Easels - Four Factors to Consider When Choosing

Flip Chart Easels – Four Factors to Consider When Choosing One

Flip chart easels come in a variety of shapes, weights, and sizes. They are also constructed differently and have varying designs. A key to delivering an effective presentation or training session is to pick the right easel for the job.

In many cases, trainers and facilitators do not have the option of choosing which flip chart easels that they will have available. For example,  if you are a presenter or trainer visiting a client site, or at a hotel conference room, you will sometimes be confronted with inappropriate equipment. This is often in the form of flimsy artist or display tripod stands with a bar across the top to hold a pad of paper. Facilitators who have encountered these devices know that they are NOT true flip chart easels. They are for display of a poster or other type of static material and will easily tip over when you try to write on pads attached to them. Additionally, they have no tray on which the user can place markers. Typically, these stands are bought because they are inexpensive. In such instances, some last-minute program adjustments are required, related to the best means for effectively delivering information and making messages visual. You may have to use a dry erase board, smartboard, slide presentation, or individual flip chart pages for group activities or to post information on walls. If you use the last approach, always ensure that you use water-based flip chart markers and put an additional sheet of paper behind the one on which you write. This will help prevent ink bleed-through onto the walls.

The following are four factors to consider when deciding which flip chart easels to buy.

  • Durability. Will they last for a while to offset the cost of the equipment and withstand repeated use? For example, some less expensive models have telescoping legs that require tightening a knob to hold the extended legs in place. Over time, the tension often fails and there is a slow creeping down of the legs during a session. Others have detachable bars or rods at the top and the screws or bars sometimes get lost.
  • Functionality. Does the design provide a means of effectively holding a flip chart pad in place, easy mobility and somewhere to put markers?
  • Versatility. Does the device allow optional uses? For example, do they have a solid metal backing that allows for use as a magnetic display board or a whiteboard surface that allows use as a mobile writing device without a writing pad?
  • User-Friendliness. Can people who are smaller or have different abilities easily set up, move and use the device? In the United States and several other countries, people with disabilities must be provided with reasonable accommodations to allow them to perform their job. Can someone with a disability easily access and use the equipment you are considering? For example, some designs require standing on two-foot peddles at the base while manually pulling up on the easel body to fully extend it. There is often resistance that makes this movement difficult for some people. Someone who is shorter or who has a physical disability could find this challenging.

For additional ideas of selecting and using flip chart easels in the classroom search “flip charts” on this blog and get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.