By Anja van den Berg
The new normal has forced students to adapt to a different way of learning. The role of online education for the continuity of education at all grade levels has been imminent for quite some time. However, this transition is not always plain sailing.
Over the past few months, mentions of “Zoom fatigue” have popped up more and more on social media, and Google searches for the same phrase have steadily increased, says Liz Fosslien, author of No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work.
Zoom fatigue is a catch-all, short-hand way to explain online fatigue. Symptoms include difficulty concentrating, physical exhaustion, anxiety when entering or participating in a meeting, irritability, headache, and eye strain.
The problem can be more severe for children, who still have not developed the ability to understand that what they are experiencing is Zoom fatigue, says Sofía García-Bullé from the Observatory of Education Innovation. Parents should, therefore, be attentive to their young one’s tolerance for onscreen learning.
“If a child leaves the online class to play with his toys, has an anger fit, or refuses to enter the session, it might not be a mood, but a real case of exhaustion from remote learning, i.e., Zoom fatigue,” Garcia- Bullé explains.
But parents can play a significant role in helping their children cope and thrive in an online learning setting. Garcia-Bullé offers parents advice on what they can do to help their kids combat Zoom fatigue.
- Encourage short bursts of learning with multiple breaks
One of the stress triggers in children is being unable to move around because they spend too much time seated in online sessions. Parents should prioritise recess periods so children can discharge some of the energy they accumulate while sitting. Ten minutes of walking, a couple of yoga exercises, or a short time playing with their pets can significantly reduce stress levels and improve children’s concentration.
- Craft a suitable space
Create a space suitable for online learning, which also allows an area for relaxation. Physical and ergo-dynamic comfort are both critical. Make sure the child doesn’t need to strain to use the computer and equipment. Position them at eye level with the screen at a reasonable distance for viewing. The space should be clean and free of distractions. However, they should be allowed to have a favourite doll or toy close-by.
- Create a schedule
Create a schedule that highlights school deadlines but is flexible according to the child’s needs and abilities. Involve your child in the planning and give them a sense of control and responsibility for their schedule. One of the most positive points of online learning is the fact that it offers more flexibility. If, for instance, your child is not an early riser, you may be able to start the school day a little later. If he or she needs frequent, short breaks to concentrate well, you have the prerogative to prioritise that need.
Garcia-Bullé says that remote learning is here to stay. Hybrid, flexible, and flipped classrooms (following the FLIPPED approach) will become the new norm. The use of digital tools and online learning platforms will continue to accelerate. It’s in everyone’s best interest that parents, teachers, and students – no matter how young – develop a new skillset to benefit from the new way of learning.
Observatory of Education Innovation: https://observatory.tec.mx/edu-news/zoom-fatigue-students
The Faculty: https://medium.com/the-faculty/5-tips-to-avoid-online-classroom-fatigue-6d8b5df6f886
Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2020/04/how-to-combat-zoom-fatigue
Die omgekeerde klaskamer onderrigbenadering (FLIPPED) wat gevolg word, is ‘’n verdere benadering om leer te fasiliteer. Die akroniem FLIPPED (Chen, Wang, Kinshuk, Chen, 2014: 18) staan vir die volgende: