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Hi all,

I'm just doing some thinking around the length of virtual classroom (not webinar) sessions. Often they can be an hour, 90 minutes or more, but obviously can be 30 minutes or shorter, a couple of hours or even all day.

How do you decide how long your virtual classroom sessions should be?

I know some clients where they find 30 minutes or less is great, because it gets people back to fee-earning or whatever their productivity is really quickly. 

Others have said that if they do sessions less than 90 minutes, and ideally 2 hours, people in their audience say that there isn't the value in them attending. 

Most of my own session for teaching virtual classroom training skills are two hours long. I'd run them even longer, maybe 2.5 hours, if people would let me! I like the longer sessions to really get into the "meat" of the topic, as long as there is enough itneractivty and a break in the middle. 

What about you - are you driven by your attendees? Business constraints? Manager suggestion? Something else?

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  • Currently the length is in our hands. We are considering trying trying 'cafe sprint' 30 mins style - I'm not totally convinced about this format, certainly cuts the waffle, but you're lost if you experience techie issues no chance to catch up. I also found the break out session quite exposing when little time to warm up and feel comfortable with people.

    My own sessions are around 45 to 60 minutes.

    Interested in others thoughts on the 'sprint' style of session.


  • Most of my work focuses on interactive skills. Creating time for input, practice, feedback, discussion, means that online classroom learning sessions are minimum 90 minutes. Since Covid hit, I'm finding that people also want to include the time for social connection that we lose from a) not being face-to-face and b) the relentless Zoom meetings focussing on task and neglecting connection.

    With any virtual learning it's important to start with the question: "What do I want my participants to leave with?" This helps me to shape the design and therefore the length of the session. The shorter the session the more likely it is to be input biased, so how do you know any learning has occured?

    We focus a lot on what's done before an online classroom session starts: tech tests, pre-work, expectations setting. It helps to save time from the valuable workshops.

  • I've been doing 90-minute sessions and only one has client asked for a smaller duration - an hour. I like the idea of several shorter workshops over time; want to test if people a) retain more and b) apply more. What do people on here think of David Rock's idea of 45 minute sessions, spaced over time?


    How to Make Virtual Learning Better, Not Worse, Than In-Person
    When governments issued lockdown orders earlier this year, organizations everywhere scrambled to move their learning programs online. Since then, a t…
    • Really interesting read, thank you so much for sharing!

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