Another dot in the blogosphere?

Solutions to Zoom fatigue?

Posted on: March 6, 2021

I recently tweeted a Stanford press release about a research publication on Zoom fatigue.

The Stanford study suggested four reasons why video conferencing tire us out and offered remedies.

Reason 1: Looking at too many faces all at once in your personal space. This puts us in an alert state for an extended period. Remedy: Reduce the size of the video conferencing window to minimise the size of faces.

Reason 2: Seeing your own face is like facing a critical mirror all day. Remedy: Hide the self-view by right-clicking on your image.

Reason 3: Video conferencing reduces our visual mobility and range. Remedy: Use an external camera to create distance from the screen to “pace and doodle” like in a normal classroom.

Reason 4: Video chats require greater cognitive loads because participants need to put in effort to exaggerate cues that are nuanced and natural in person, e.g., showing agreement. Remedy: Identify segments that do not require non-verbal cues so that you do not require video.

The first three remedies have technical solutions and the last is part of pedagogical design. The first two are relatively easy for all to perform (reduce video conferencing window size and hide self-view). The third requires a special set up that not all can afford or take advantage of.

The fourth approach offers more promise, not just in minimising cognitive load during a video conference, but in online teaching and learning in general. Pedagogical redesign to only use video conferencing when necessary is key. One such design is to rely largely on asynchonous individual work, and rely on synchronous work for strategies like peer teaching or one-on-one coaching.

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