Avoid Zoom Fatigue, Be Present and Learn

  • Erik Peper San Francisco State University
  • Vietta Wilson York University
  • Marc Martin San Francisco State University
  • Erik Rosegard San Francisco State University
  • Richard Harvey San Francisco State University
Keywords: Zoom fatigue, Communication, Attention, Learning


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.

Author Biographies

Erik Peper, San Francisco State University


Department of Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Holistic Health

Erik Rosegard, San Francisco State University


Department of Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Holistic Health

Richard Harvey, San Francisco State University


Department of Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Holistic Health



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