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Posted Monday November, 23rd 2020

Is Learning on Zoom the Same as In Person? Not to Your Brain

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At this point the Zoom call has almost come to define learning and working in the age of COVID-19. But a few months ago, people began realizing that all these video calls were making them tired—exhausted even—more so than a day of in-person class or all-day meetings. The phenomena even has a name: Zoom fatigue. And it’s backed by some pretty interesting brain science.

According to scientists, the cause of Zoom fatigue “is that technology can disrupt our normal intricate human communication methods that have been finely tuned over centuries to help humans survive,” writes Brenda Wiederhold in a thought-provoking editorial in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. As it turns out, live Zoom calls aren’t as live as we think they are.

Wiederhold is a licensed clinical psychologist who uses advanced technology, such as virtual reality, to treat patients who experience trauma or stress and also runs the nonprofit Interactive Media Institute. She joins us on the EdSurge podcast this week to discuss how we can combat Zoom fatigue, and she offers a glimpse into her work in virtual reality, weighing in on whether it may one day replace communication as we know it.

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