Avoid Zoom Fatigue, Be Present and Learn
This paper explores plausible reasons why some students report having more difficulty learning online, predominantly in Zoom synchronous classes, and suggests strategies that students can do to optimize their learning. During anonymous classroom observations, approximately 80% of 350 college students polled indicated it was harder to focus their attention and stay present while taking classes online. They also reported experiencing more isolation, anxiety, and depression compared to face-to-face classes, although much of this may be due to COVID-19 social isolation. Students often appear nonresponsive when attending online synchronous Zoom classes that negatively impacts the nonverbal dynamics of student–instructor interactions. Communication issues includes internet challenges, lack of facial expressions, body appearance, and movement. Students also report that it is more challenging to maintain attention, especially when they are multitasking. Suggested strategies are to optimize learning that includes arranging the camera so that you are visible, using active facial and body responses as if you are communicating to just one person face-to-face, configuring your body and environment (sitting upright and creating unique cues for each specific task), reducing multitasking and notifications, and optimizing arousal and vision regeneration.
Allen, A. P., Kennedy, P. J., Dockray, S., Cryan, J. F., Dinan, T. G., & Clarke, G. (2016). The Trier Social Stress Test: Principles and practice. Neurobiology of Stress, 6, 113–126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ynstr.2016.11.001
Asurion. (2019, November 21). Americans check their phones 96 times a day [Press release]. https://www.asurion.com/about/press-releases/americans-check-their-phones-96-times-a-day/ - :~:text=Despite our attempts to curb,tech care company Asurion1.
Birkett, M. A. (2011). The Trier Social Stress Test protocol for inducing psychological stress. Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE, (56), e3238. https://doi.org/10.3791/3238
Chetwynd, J., Mason, L. A., Almendras, M., Peper, E., & Harvey, R. (2020, December). Posture awareness training. Poster presented at the 51st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, online. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.20194.76485
Degges-White, S. (2020, April 13). Dealing with Zoom anxiety. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/202004/dealing-zoom-anxiety
Flanigan, A. E., & Titsworth, S. (2020). The impact of digital distraction on lecture note taking and student learning. Instructional Science, 48, 495–524. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-020-09517-2
Fosslien, L., & Duffy, M. W. (2020, April 29). How to combat Zoom fatigue. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/04/how-to-combat-zoom-fatigue
Giunchiglia, F., Zeni, M., Gobbi, E., Bignotti, E., & Bison, I. (2018). Mobile social media usage and academic performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 82, 177–185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.12.041
Gruenewald, T. L., Kemeny, M. E., Aziz, N., & Fahey, J. L. (2004). Acute threat to the social self: Shame, social self-esteem, and cortisol activity. Psychosomatic Medicine, 66(6), 915–924. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.psy.0000143639.61693.ef.
Intolo, P., Shalokhon, B., Wongwech, G., Wisiasut, P., Nanthavanij, S., & Baxter, D. G. (2019). Analysis of neck and shoulder postures, and muscle activities relative to perceived pain during laptop computer use at a low-height table, sofa and bed. Work, 63(3), 361–367. https://doi.org/10.3233/WOR-192942
Jelaca, M., Anastasovski, I., & Velickovska, L. A. (2020). A report on the impacts of the coronavirus SARS-CO-2 “shelter-in-place order” on fitness and well-being. Research in Physical Education, Sport and Health, 9(1), 13–18. https://doi.org/10.46733/PESH2090013j
Keller, A. S., Davidesco, I., & Tanner, K. D. (2020). Attention matters: How orchestrating attention may relate to classroom learning. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 19(3), fe5. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.20-05-0106
Kendon, A. (2004). Gesture: Visible action as utterance. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Kirschbaum, C., Pirke, K.-M., & Hellhammer, D. H. (1993). The ‘Trier Social Stress Test’—A tool for investigating psychobiological stress response in a laboratory setting. Neuropsychobiology, 28, 76–81. https://doi.org/10.1159/000119004
Kuhfeld, M., Soland, J., Tarasawa, B., Johnson, A., Ruzek, E., & Liu, J. (2020). Projecting the potential impact of COVID-19 school closures on academic achievement. Educational Researcher, 49(8), 549–565. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X20965918
Lee, J. (2020, November 17). A neuropsychological exploration of Zoom fatigue. Psychiatric Times. https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/psychological-exploration-zoom-fatigue
Leeb, R. T., Bitsko, R. H., Radhakrishnan, L., Martinez, P., Njai, R., & Holland, K. M. (2020). Mental health-related emergency department visits among children aged <18 years during the COVID-19 pandemic—United States, January 1–October 17, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 69(45),1675–1680. https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6945a3
Lemay, D. J., Doleck, T., & Bazelais, P. (2019). Self-determination, loneliness, fear of missing out, and academic performance. Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal, 11(4), 485–496. https://doi.org/10.34105/j.kmel.2019.11.025
Macan, T. H., Shahani, C., Dipboye, R. L., & Phillips, A. P. (1990). College students’ time management: Correlations with academic performance and stress. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(4), 760–768. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0622.214.171.1240
Madore, K. P., Khazenzon, A. M., Backes, C. W., Jiang, J., Uncapher, M. R., Norcia, A. M., & Wagner, A. D. (2020). Memory failure predicted by attention lapsing and media multitasking. Nature, 587, 87–91. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2870-z
Mander, J. (1978). Four arguments for the elimination of television. New York, NY: William Morrow Paperbacks.
Mărchidan, A., (2019, June). More technologized is not more educated. Paper presented at the 11th International Conference on Electronics, Computers and Artificial Intelligence (ECAI), Pitesti, Romania. https://doi.org/10.1109/ECAI46879.2019.9041993
McGinty, E. E., Presskreischer, R., Anderson, K. E., Han, H., & Barry, C. L. (2020). Psychological distress and COVID-19–related stressors reported in a longitudinal cohort of US adults in April and July 2020. JAMA, 324(24), 2555–2557. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.21231
Mueller, P. A., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2014). The pen is mightier than the keyboard: Advantages of longhand over laptop note taking. Psychological Science, 25(6), 1159–1168. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797614524581
Newport, C. (2016). Deep work: Rules for focused success in a distracted world. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing
Osman, M. E., & Hannafin, M. J. (1994). Effects of advance questioning and prior knowledge on science learning. The Journal of Education Research, 88(1), 5–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220671.1994.9944829
Oswald, T. K., Rumbold, A. R., Kedzior, S. G. E., & Moore, V. M. (2020) Psychological impacts of “screen time” and “green time” for children and adolescents: A systematic scoping review. PLoS ONE, 15(9), e0237725. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0237725
Patel, A. V., Maliniak, M. L., Rees-Punia, E., Matthews, C. E., & Gapstur, S. M. (2018). Prolonged leisure time spent sitting in relation to cause-specific mortality in a large US cohort. American Journal of Epidemiology, 187(10), 2151–2158, https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwy125
Peper, E. (2021). Resolve eyestrain and screen fatigue. Well Being Journal, 30, 24–28.
Peper, E., & Harvey, R. (2018). Digital addiction: Increased loneliness, anxiety, and depression. NeuroRegulation, 5(1), 3–8. https://doi.org/10.15540/nr.5.1.3
Peper, E., Harvey, R., & Faass, N. (2020). Tech Stress. How technology is hijacking our lives, strategies for coping, and pragmatic ergonomics. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Peper, E., Harvey, R., Mason, L., & Lin, I.-M. (2018). Do better in math: How your body posture may change stereotype threat response. NeuroRegulation, 5(2), 67–74. https://doi.org/10.15540/nr.5.2.67
Peper, E., & Lin, I.-M. (2012). Increase or decrease depression: How body postures influence your energy level. Biofeedback, 40(3), 126–130. https://doi.org/10.5298/1081-5937-40.3.01
Peper, E., Lin, I-M., Harvey, R., & Perez, J. (2017). How posture affects memory recall and mood. Biofeedback, 45(2), 36–41. https://doi.org/10.5298/1081-5937-45.2.01
Peper, E., & Yang, A. (in press). Beyond Zoom fatigue: Re-energize yourself and improve learning. Academia Letters.
Porges, S. W. (2017). The pocket guide to the polyvagal theory: The transformative power of feeling safe. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
Purdy, K. (2020, April 21). How to pull off a professional video call from home. New York Times Wirecutter. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/professional-video-call-from-home/
Roberts, F., Margutti, P., & Takano, S. (2011). Judgments concerning the valence of inter-turn silence across speakers of American English, Italian, and Japanese. Discourse Processes, 48(5), 331–354. https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2011.558002
Rubinstein, P. (2020, November 5). Asynchronous video interviews: The tools you need to succeed. BBC Remote Control. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201102-asynchronous-video-interviews-the-tools-you-need-to-succeed
Schneider, M. (2016). Vision for life, revised edition: Ten steps to natural eyesight improvement. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
Solis, B. (2019). How managers can help workers tackle digital distractions. MIT Sloan Management Review, 60(4), 1–3. Retrieved from https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/how-managers-can-help-workers-tackle-digital-distractions/?gclid=CjwKCAiA25v_BRBNEiwAZb4-ZRuImr0A9EtQgRLl9FXmmALLPdMAjaFDDVAJSpwo7ta8vEPLW147XRoCmO8QAvD_BwE
Stamatakis, E., Gale, J., Bauman, A., Ekelund, U., Hamer, M., & Ding, D. (2019). Sitting time, physical activity, and risk of mortality in adults. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 73(16), 2062–2072. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2019.02.031
Tronick, E. [UMass Boston]. (2009, November 30). Still face experiment: Dr. Edward Tronick. [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/apzXGEbZht0
Tronick, E., Adamson, L. B., Als, H., & Brazelton, T. B. (1975, April). Infant emotions in normal and pertubated interactions. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Denver, CO.
Wilson, V. E., & Peper, E. (2011). Athletes are different: Factors that differentiate biofeedback/neurofeedback for sport versus clinical practice. Biofeedback, 39(1), 27–30. https://doi.org/10.5298/1081-5937-39.1.01
Yalçin, I., Özkurt, B., Özmaden, M., & Yagmur, R. (2020). Effect of smartphone addiction on loneliness levels and academic achievement of z generation. International Journal of Psychology and Educational Studies, 7(1), 208–214. https://doi.org/10.17220/ijpes.2020.01.017
Copyright (c) 2021 Erik Peper, Vietta Wilson, Marc Martin, Erik Rosegard, Richard Harvey
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).