Education Technology


Why Students Need To Take Breaks During Online Learning

By eLearning Inside
November 16, 2021

Students need frequent breaks between classes, otherwise, it can be hard for them to stay focused and retain information. For this reason, many students have turned to online schooling and online education because they provide flexibility and allow the students to schedule classes at a time which works best for them.

However, even in online classes, students need breaks. Just as adults need breaks from work to eat their lunch or have coffee, online students need breaks to relax and rest their minds. With issues like eye strain and zoom fatigue plaguing virtual learning, taking a break can help students by keeping them focused and energized. Let’s have a look at some reasons why students need to take breaks in online classes and what the benefits are of breaks for students:

Improved Attention

The longer a student keeps sitting at their computer and staring at it, the more difficult it becomes for them to focus, this difficulty will only increase as time passes by. In her book Tools for Teaching, Barbara Gross Davis states that “…student attention during lectures tends to wane after approximately 10 –15 minutes.” This shows regular breaks are necessary for students to remain focused.

When students are allowed to take breaks whether they are during conventional methods of studying, in brick & mortar classrooms, or in online classrooms, it can give their brains some time to rest and reset their focus after which they can start studying and focusing again. So, to improve the attention of students and get their improved attention towards studies, breaks are important even small breaks can do the job.

Improved Productivity

Just like the attention of students, their productivity level can also be held high for as long as their attention span, and giving frequent breaks between classes is a good way to keep the productivity level of students high. Just as it is hard for students to focus on a particular thing or subject for a long time, it is hard for them to stay productive beyond the 45-minute mark.

So, giving frequent breaks to students during classes can help them burn off the excess energy and help them stay focused and less distracted to be productive when it’s time to study.

During breaks, many students enjoy the gameplay as a means to re-energize and still keep focus.  This can come in the form of educational games like Kahoot to more general games like Solitaire or Spider Solitaire. 

Retain Information

Breaks can also help the students revisit and improvise things that they have just studied. Alejandro Lleras, Professor Of Psychology At the University of Illinois led a study to determine the effectiveness of prolonged work or study periods without a break and found out that individuals who take breaks during study or work have greatly enhanced focus and performance than those who don’t.
If after a class students are given a break to revisit the things that they have learned then it will help them retain that information.

The more people revisit and revise something, the higher chances they have of retaining it in their brains. So, to make sure that students get the chance to retain the information that they learned in their brain, they should be given short breaks to revisit it.

Reduced Stress

When students are faced with prolonged instructions and classes then they can get stressed out because a huge amount of information is being delivered to them in such a short period and they will have to retain all of it and while thinking all this, students can get overwhelmed. This stress can not only put mental pressure on them but also prevent them from concentrating or learning anything else.

During breaks, students can get a chance to relax. Some can get involved in physical activity, some can hang out with friends, others can go out and eat something, or listen to music, all of the things which can help the students. Researchers at Stanford University found out that “Listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication.”

These were some of the benefits of breaks that can affect and improve the performance of students during studies. Of course, online classes and e-learning are different from conventional methods of learning and education but it does not mean that students should be forced to sit in front of their screen for a long time.

Instead, they should be given frequent breaks after classes to help them relax and then continue the next classes with better concentration and focus to learn as many things as possible from it.

Featured image: Ralston Smith, Unsplash.