“The ideal work-to-break ratio was 52 minutes of work, followed by 17 minutes of rest. People who maintained this schedule had a unique level of focus in their work. For roughly an hour at a time, they were 100% dedicated to the task they needed to accomplish. They didn’t check Facebook “real quick” or get distracted by emails. When they felt fatigue (again, after about an hour), they took short breaks, during which they completely separated themselves from their work. This helped them to dive back in refreshed for another productive hour of work.”
I’ve been thinking about this ratio in regards to training for awhile now. If focus is maximized at one hour followed by a 15 minute break, you would think training would be as well. In fact, I’d be willing to bet it is.
The problem though, from a training professional point of view, is how to convince customers that this is so. Giving classes a 15 minute break every hour would drag training into an extra day really. Instead of a 2 day course, you’d be looking at a 3 day course. You could probably learn twice as much stuff effectively in that extra 50 percent of class time, but what organization wants to dedicate more time to training their staff? Isn’t it hard enough to get them to do one day, let alone start dragging it out longer?
On the other hand, the companies that figure out the benefit of breaks in training and are willing to allow for more training time like this, may just end up with far more effective employees. But someone is going to have to try it first. Who wants to be on the cutting edge? 😉