In today’s increasingly virtual world, video chats have become as commonplace as the in-person interactions that preceded them. Classrooms, work meetings, friendly hangouts and family get-togethers have all moved online, replacing chairs with digital squares like the Brady Bunch. Even the term “face-to-face” has evolved, no longer requiring that people meet in the same physical space to have a conversation.
On a daily basis, over 400 million participants use Zoom and Google Meets, not to mention the countless other video conferencing platforms that have emerged throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Many participants are students and teachers, forced online in the shadow of Covid-19 school closures.
With an estimated 4,500 individuals joining online video-chats at any given second, it’s no wonder that many of us are beginning to experience what experts have termed “Zoom Fatigue.” In fact, a recent poll of educators conducted by the National Education Association found that 28% of those surveyed were now more likely to retire early or leave the profession entirely as a result of the difficult transition online.
Factors contributing “Zoom” fatigue
Witnessing the widespread exhaustion that often results from these platforms, researchers at Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab set out to identify the primary factors contributing to “Zoom Fatigue.” Their four main findings were published in the February 2021 issue of Technology, Mind and Behavior:
- Eye contact is close-up, excessive, and highly intense.
- The option to stare at ourselves for hours online is unnatural.
- The field view of our computer cameras limits mobility.
- Interpreting gestures & nonverbal cues is more difficult online.
In addition to listing the common problems leading to “Zoom Fatigue,” Stanford researchers also provided possible solutions. Suggestions include:
- Reducing chat windows to minimize face size
- Enabling the “hide self-view” option
- Creating distance between users and their computers
- Taking occasional “audio-only” breaks
- Muting audio
While these suggestions do alleviate certain components of “Zoom Fatigue”, they do not provide a long-term solution.
Solutions to battle video meeting fatigue
So what is the solution for educators and students? What happens when remote learning is no longer mandatory? As institutions begin reopening their doors full time, will video chat lose its appeal? Will “Zoom Fatigue” disappear as we adapt? How can schools meet student needs, supporting those learning on-campus as well as those who opt to continue education online?
The real solution lies in the implementation of a hybrid learning system that enables students to connect how they prefer—from anywhere at any time, online and in-person. The real solution is ConexED.
Unlike Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and the countless other video chat services that have gained popularity during the pandemic, ConexED’s platform popularity predates the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to moving to remote learning, ConexED’s platform was built to support the critical personal interactions needed both in-person and virtually.
ConexED’s Virtual Lobby feature facilitates unmatched interaction online. Students can “walk-in” and wait for a counselor or advisor or chat with someone who can help in real-time. Students are able to connect anywhere from any device to access much needed resources like mental health, counseling, advising, speech therapy and other critical services in addition to access to instructors.
No other video platform enables live interactive whiteboards, direct messaging, appointment scheduling, the option to upload paperwork, sign documents, and the ability to transcribe conversations in real time using our closed-captioning feature.
As Coronavirus cases continue to decline, so will cases of “Zoom Fatigue” and exclusively virtual student/teacher engagement. The need for a robust hybrid-learning system, however, will only increase. Even when the pandemic ends, ConexED is here to ensure that meaningful connection between students and teachers doesn’t.