Zoom Fatigue: How It Impacts Students’ Learning

Zoom shot to mainstream fame by May 2020, when most of the world was shut down to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. People still needed to earn money, and businesses still needed to stay afloat, which is how the video conferencing platform skyrocketed in usage, reaching a staggering 30 million users in a short amount of time. Zoom was essentially the lifeline that helped people stay productive and connected during an incredibly isolating and lonely time.

However, over a year later into the pandemic, it seems like remote instruction is here to stay. While most people believed that it would be left behind along with COVID-19 once things returned to normal, the reality is that it’s still as crucial as ever in providing digital learning to those who are stuck at home. 

Many organizations have deployed a hybrid model of teaching through zoom for synchronous learning and a learning management system for asynchronous learning.

Even so, most people are grappling with the challenge of Zoom fatigue, which continues to be a problem today. 

Here’s what you need to know about it and what you can do to combat it:

What Is Zoom Fatigue?

Zoom fatigue is the feeling of exhaustion that occurs after excessive video conferencing calls. It is more than a combination of tired eyes, an aching lower back, or a stiff neck; it’s also the mental fatigue of spending way too much time on these calls. 

Even though technology has advanced to provide us with instant access to video and audio conferencing, which is the closest thing to face-to-face interaction, some delays complicate the call. It may be possible to enable synchronous learning over technology, but it is hardly synchronized in real life due to various factors: Internet connectivity, participants’ devices, and many others.

Internet connection in the Philippines can be unreliable, especially in non-central areas. This means that should one learner be struggling with connectivity, their learning experience can be severely impacted. There is certainly a time and place for synchronous learning, but having asynchronous options ensures that everyone can benefit.

How Does It Affect the Way Students Learn?

Since humans are programmed to interact with each other in person, our brains are accustomed to interpreting body language and cues that occur in real-time. However, on a video call, things are never in real-time, and our brains know that something is off. Even if it’s just a millisecond, there will always be a lag, prompting the brain to look for solutions to resolve the lack of synchrony. As a result, the brain tires itself faster, inducing feelings of fatigue and anxiety.

Humans are more fulfilled after face-to-face encounters since these are rich with social signals that our brains are experts at figuring out. Video conferencing interrupts this since teachers rely on their students’ reactions, needing to pick up on subtle cues that help them gauge how students are feeling. Additionally, instructors appear less intimidating in a classroom setting since there is a physical distance between them. 

In video calls, faces are often blown up and can appear especially large on the monitor, which can be uncomfortable or intimidating for students. As a result, many have opted to turn their videos off, although instructors usually require students to keep their cameras on to encourage engagement. 

While there’s no doubt that fatigue falls upon students, it takes its toll on teachers as well. Delivering information over and over again for several hours can be extremely taxing, which is why a carefully planned presentation is key to success. Brevity is ever so important online.

Can It Be Alleviated?

Nothing will beat in-person learning, but video conferencing and online learning are here to stay. Luckily, making time for breaks is a great way to refresh everyone’s minds, allowing them to step away from the screen and rest their eyes. 

One key way to reduce Zoom fatigue is to look for opportunities to insert asynchronous learning. Not all information must be delivered to a live audience. Allowing students to begin their learning independently can actually increase the effectiveness of live sessions in the same way that flipped classroom techniques have already proven to improve learning. Since students arrive armed with background knowledge, the bulk of synchronous learning time can focus on questions, discussions, and engagement rather than the simple delivery of factual information.


Zoom fatigue can seriously impact the way students learn, as humans simply aren’t wired to interact with each other through a screen. However, by following our guide, you’ll experience less stress during video conferences.

Bihasa is a digital learning company in the Philippines that is the industry leader in online course development. We transform training modules into digital courses that are easy to deploy in corporate environments, providing exceptional learning experiences for everyone. Schedule a quick call with us to find out how we can help you bring top-tier courses to your company!

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