In some galaxy far away, in a time long ago, some clown correctly observed people fall asleep rather than pay attention if lectured to for a long time. And other clowns, with pedagogical expertise of sorts, observed that human beings generally learn better by being engaged rather than by being passive. And those clowns resolved to Fix The Problem.
Unfortunately, especially in the business/private sector, and amplified by sensitivity to not put students (oops, learners...) on the spot by demonstrating their incomplete understanding if forced to engage in actual subject matter discussion, the horrendous concept of "energizers" and "icebreakers" emerged. This is the practice of interrupting boring lecturing by making people do something completely unrelated, generally dumb, interactively. I guess it is preferable to just droning on altogether, but it is a weak subsitute for actually teaching well, interactively and engagingly. It's principal advantage is that it needs minimal preparation, and minimal thought by the instructor to include, since it's generally off the shelf.
Since no clueless idea goes unimproved, this idea of "energizers" is now being recycled in other settings, including academia, by sometimes deliberately planning inane, off-topic interactive interruptions to the flow. It reminds me of tales of concert pianists making markings in their music where exactly they plan to make a dramatic flourish with their hands.
Removing tongue from cheek, of course there is value in a) allowing breaks, b) building relationships though idle, possibly unrelated unforced banter, c) breaking up the monotony of one person speaking, d) humanizing the instructor and students with occasional breaks from the script and deviations off-topic, e) looking for partially on-topic and partially-off-topic analogs and examples "from real life". But all that's another story.