Why is zoom learning so tiring, and what can we do to fix it?

Have you ever noticed that you feel more tired after a day of zoom calls than you ever did in the office? Well, it turns out that it’s not just you. Recently research has show that it actually can be more tiring to spend all day staring at screens in your pjs than it is talking face to face. And it’s not just impacting those of us who work in an office- It’s impacting learners too. But why is that, and what can be done to make it better?

Reason 1:  It’s not natural

Let’s face it- humans weren’t designed to stare at screens all day. While technology is an extremely powerful tool, it isn’t always the easiest or most natural way for us to communicate. It can glitch, lighting is weird, and it can be difficult to keep track of who is talking.

One thing to consider is that seeing big faces on a screen can activate your fight or flight response. While we may not feel the need to run screaming every time calls, we do still be have a small reaction. The fix for this? Try having more meetings or classes without the camera and minimize the window a bit when you can’t.

One other way to make zoom calls a bit more natural is to consider framing and lighting. Do you have harsh lights behind you? Is only half of your face on screen? Is there a ton of clutter or distracting movement in your background?  Taking the time to find a space that has proper lighting and a simple background can make a big difference when you are meeting with others or teaching online.

Reason 2: There are no cues that we are used to

In typical conversation, we look for social cues to let us know how things are going. Whether it is eye contact, subtle facial expressions, body language, or even tone of voice, there are a lot of cues that just don’t translate well online.

 One easy way to help is to move your camera to eye level. That way, you can look into the camera and make more direct eye contact with the people you are talking to. While it may not seem like a huge difference, being able to see someone’s full face helps others to pick up on those more subtle cues, and may help students feel more connected and ready to learn.

Another helpful practice is to pause between speakers and ideas. Giving the mindd a second to rest helps alleviate some of the unnoticed stress that can come with lagging, and helps to reduce any awkward moments or accidental interruptions.

Reason 3: It can be hard to stay on task

With the entirety of the internet at your fingertips, it can be tempting to do to other things your meeting or lesson gets dull. However, all of those extra little distractions can add up over time making us feel distracted, groggy, or even burnt out. To help fight those feelings, close other windows, silence notifications, and try not to rely too much on the meeting chat. Instead, focus on being present.

While there is no doubt that a day of zoom can be exughting for all of us, but there are a few simple things we can all do to help ourselves feel less tired after a day of back to back calls.

Have any other virtual meeting hacks? Let us know in the comments!

Sources: https://hbr.org/2020/04/how-to-combat-zoom-fatigue

https://slate.com/human-interest/2020/05/zoom-call-burnout-quarantine.html

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2020-09-15-is-learning-on-zoom-the-same-as-in-person-not-to-your-brain

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-does-zoom-exhaust-you-science-has-an-answer-11590600269

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