Sometimes interesting questions come my way at work. Here’s one about breaks.
For a four-hour webcast – is a 30 minute break half-way through better than 2-15 minute breaks? My inclination is for 30 minutes so folks can actually do something in the break. But, two 15 minute breaks does allow for more opportunity to stand up and walk around.
Webcast in our context refers to synchronous web-based presentations with audiences ranging from 10 to 750. For sure, when it comes to webcasts, one could have thoughtful discussions about the format and the length and the design, but that wasn’t the question here.
My answer was that I’d tend to favor more, shorter breaks because that’s generally upheld as a best practice for concentrating on tasks like homework. Frequent breaks helps concentration.
That said, I told her I wasn’t sure I could definitively say that two short breaks would carry more overall value to participants than one longer break.
To that end, I suggested that this might be an area where learner choice might be appropriate. Learners love choice and control, but they don’t necessarily make great choices, so relatively low-stakes decisions like this one are ideal. A quick polling question at the beginning is all it would take here. Majority rules.
She liked the suggestion, and I’m eager to hear which choice her learners make.