No Image Available



Training Coordinator


googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Ideal training day


Hi, I work for the training department of a multinational. Training events from our team always start at 9.30 and end at 17.30 approx. This was the way our previous manager scheduled events, based on years of experience, and both facilitators and participants were satisfied. Facilitators (as we usually work alone)had sufficient time to get organised in every, often new, location. And the participants could still travel in the morning, save the extra hotel night and return home without being exhausted. It also seems participants become saturated at a certain point, even with a balanced agenda of theory and activities. Our events are quite content-heavy in order to reduce the time spent away from desk and work floor. We now have been asked by new management to explain why we don't do more hours. My question to you is: does any research exist that describes the ideal training day? Thanks in advance for your advice. Christina

11 Responses

  1. More training hours

    Hi Christina

    I don’t think you can possibly schedule your day to be any longer than it already is.  One alternative might be to start earlier, and end earlier, if feasible.  Also, ensure that you schedule enough breaks – I find that a ‘comfort break’ (10 minutes every hour) works well.  Also a tea break around 10:30, lunch break at 12:30, and then an afternoon tea break at around 15:00).  Good luck with your endeavours!


  2. It depends


    So far I haven’t found anything that defines an "ideal" training day, because it will depend on what you’re training.

    In terms of research you might find it useful to look on the web for information on memory and learning – to help respond to the why’s of the time limitation.

    If you haven’t already, you might also want to look into the different training styles, which can also act as time restrictions.

    Hope this helps a bit…

    — Michelle Kaye IT Trainer Boodle Hatfield

  3. I prefer shorter, more intense days

    A very interesting issue – I hope it gets a lot of contributors.

    Twenty eight years into my ‘helping people to learn’ life I have moved away from the conventional 9ish to 5ish day and very much favour a long morning, ideally starting around 9 and finishing after 1.00.

    Add within the traditional model, a lunch and break time, and I really don’t think there is much of a time loss especially when the learning curve effect kicks in and the value tails off.

    Much depends on travel and so on of course, for me ‘though, where I can, this works best, as it allows a return to work, gets people when typically most energised, and can be followed up with other one to one contacts.

    Not the best use of my time in terms of optimising days but, hey, who matters most – my ideal preferences or the needs and best options for the paying client?

    Let’s have some more on this as I believe it’s a very fundamental issue.

    Andrew Gibbons

  4. Concentration Time Span

    Im my organization, we came up with new trend for training timing after long way of hardships due to regular training days from 9 to 5. as many couldn’t follow on daily work tasks and if they do, they miss alot from training.

    so we came with this initiative based on a my knowledge acquired from the British Council in Egypt, that the average concetration span for a person does’t exceed 20-30 minutes of 100% comprehension and it fades till 0% by 90 minutes. based on all of that we designed the training day to be 3 sessions including breaks (the 1st for 15 minutes and the second for 30 minutes for lunch and praying) and the session span is 80-90 minutes considering different learning approaches, constant alerting topics and displaying techniques to maximize the concentration span as possible.

    it doesn’t work very well on product knowledge trainings or necessary complicated trainings, but it works very fine with soft skills and skills refreshment. as for the traditional training day from 9-5, i really advise never to exceed that as people get paralyzed by training in the 3rd session.

    you can check on this link for more infor on concentration/attention span


    Mohamed Mossilhy

    Training Manager, AMER Group, Egypt

  5. Ideal training day duration


    Like many things in training…it depends. There certainly isn’t a set formula or definitive duration. As with any design issue, it will depend on the topic (especially the amount to be covered), the target audience, the group size, the geography (how far people have to travel), the ability of the deliverer to hold people’s attention and so on.

    To generalise, I’d say that shorter bite-sized chunks work best where the delivery can be broken up without destroying the flow and connectivity of the content, and where people are geographically close together or can otherwise come together easily. That said, I think there are also merits in a longer day it terms of getting it done all in one go – for both psychological and cost efficiency reasons.

    I understand but don’t entirely agree with others about attention spans. I have run programmes from 08:30 to 18:30, or similar, on many occasions. There is undoubtedly an additional challenge in maintaining energy – yours and theirs – over certain time spans, but that is when your skill as a designer and deliverer come into its own. As long as reasonable travel arrangements allow, and there are not contractual issues about longer days, I tend to favour 1 long day rather than two short ones. If the content can all be covered in less time, all the better, but the duration must ultimately be determined by the learning outcomes you need to achieve, not than the other way around.

    Wherever there is a tension between what needs to be done and the time available I prefer, if possible, to raise that challenge with those attending and get their input. This isn’t always possible, but if you can, the psychological commitment to whatever solution comes out tends to be a great help. If people are being ‘sent’ on the course, or they are generally poorly motivated, then that would influence how I’d approach this, but I’d still want to talk with people. Even on a short day, people can be physically present but mentally absent.

    Hope that helps


  6. Ideal training duration?

    Hi Christina

    I would mirror and agree with a lot of what has been said – though one thing I would add as an important consideration to not make the day longer is one of potential discrimination (and I’m including socially and not just legally).

    Longer days can have a real impact on individuals with carers responsibilities for example (and that’s not just children) and some individuals with disabilities.

    Another case or argument would be: an increased day does not necessarily pay off in the long run as people simply don’t learn beyond a certain time/duration. You may cover more or get more “hours out of them” but you actually achieve less – if that makes sense! (Though a tip would be the longer the day – the more fun and activity-based the learning needs to be).

    And to echo a previous point – feedback will probably include comments of “day too long ….” Going forward, this can create a negative vibe with people less likely to attend future training (come with negative perceptions) making the learning, and therefore R.O.I, harder to achieve. And to reflect Andrew’s point, an observation (for me) is that organisations seem to be looking to reduce training length to both points. Or make it bite size (a number of shorter sessions over a period of time).

    So sorry my answer doesn’t necessary give you some research to back up but hopefully it presents some thoughts from a financial/business case point of view.

    Best regards – any good luck!


  7. Ideal training day


    If the training is quite content heavy, could some of it be distributed beforehand for people to read at their own pace. Then start the day with an activity to "test" the learning – a quiz, with some element of humour and lightheartedness, rather than a timed test; or a group activity to demonstrate they’ve absorbed the learning and can discuss with others in a small group.

    As others have said, breaking the sessions into chunks is best for the participants, as well as the trainer / facilitator and the more variety and activity there is, the more energised people become, so they are more likely to last through until the end.

    I have also had the discussion about overnight costs etc and no matter how much it seems like penny pinching, it’s not something we can do much about. However, if the content and practice justifies it, then a longer event (1 1/2 or 2 days+) should be possible. The networking and ongoing discussion when people stay over is usually exceedingly valuable and many residential programmes make specific use of this time, making a 2 day event more than twice as full as a 1 day event.


  8. Add value with pre reading or readiness activities

    Like colleagues here, I tend wherever appropriate to give for instance a relevant book summary in advance of a group session. This can add value and provide very useful thoughts that link directly to delivered content.

    For instance before a negotiation event I will often email a summary of either ‘getting to yes’ or getting past no’ – both of which, properly attributed can be downloaded from my website if that helps.

    Trouble is of course, we cannot gaurantee people read this, so it’s value can be diminished by patchy uptake.

    Keep the ideas rolling, I think this is a very important issue.

    Andrew Gibbons


  9. Training Day

    Hi Christina

    The length of training day does depend on a number of factors

    • Subject
    • Number of delegates
    • Time your customer wants to spend training
    • Knowledge level of delegates

    The subject will dictate how long you need.  Many of my courses are half day courses as they do not warrant longer.  The more skill based courses range from a day to three days in duration and this is a rough guide.  As a trainer you should train as fast as the slowest learner in your room and the person who does not grasp the subject matter as fast as another will vary in a group throughout the course of the learning depending on their knowledge and confidence level.  Training as a rule, I believe, is not a 9 – 5 job.  You train until you have finished.  If you have a group that is hungry for learning and you have a 9 – 5 course scheduled you could finish at 4 or 430pm equally you could be there until 6pm! 

    The day of the week will also take its toll.  Training on a Friday afternoon and your delegates will want to get away as soon as possible.

    Hope this helps


  10. Diana Cieraad, Global Training Manager
    Hi Christina,
    A very recognizable problem. Especially as you are talking about a high-content day. The way we have started solving problems like that (as we have people that travel from abroad and cannot always stay over) we send them a lot of the training content and have a pre-meeting webex with polling questions. That gives you an quick overview of which topics you should discuss extra on the face-to-face day. Also it gives them the feeling that they have been prepared for the training day. The day itself is then split into several parts, preferrably with at least one interactive (or if possible a practical) session. We then check the knowledge gained on the day by letting them do a quiz on-line in our learning center when they return to the office. they need to have a certain % to pass. Hope this is useful.

  11. How to ruin a training session……

    I agree with most of the previous comments but as I am training software, I find that 9:30 to 4:00 gives the best retention – with frequent breaks and keeping an eye on "yawning" to add more breaks.  I never train a class on Mondays or Fridays (someone mentioned Fridays) unless it is a 1:1 (and then Monday pm and Friday am only).  I’m fortunate that no-one attends training from other offices.   The 9:30 start ensures that everyone has a chance to check emails/last minute items and arrive fresh at the training.  Ditto for a 4:00 finish (and if it spills over a litte, it still gives a bit of time before going home.


    There is no point in flogging a dead horse, and you can take a horse to water but after 7 hours of sitting, you can’t expect them to still be drinking (to mix a number of metaphors!).

No Image Available

Training Coordinator


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!