How to battle videoconferencing fatigue

We’ve all felt Zoom fatigue. Whether it’s a stack of meetings in a row or hours upon hours of virtual training seminars, sometimes video conferencing tools just don’t keep us focused the way face-to-face meetings do. In this article, we take a look at how learning designers can reduce their reliance on video conferencing software, so we can all get focused and learners can get learning.

Where are we now?

In 2020, the workplace changed dramatically for many. Suddenly, water cooler conversations were a thing of the past and the opportunity for informal collaboration became a challenge. 

In the wake of the pandemic, video-conferencing software filled a meeting-room shaped void. They allowed workers to meet remotely, share ideas (and their screens) and come together. Training that was once face-to-face pivoted to online, and applications like Zoom allowed L&D teams to continue delivering formal learning experiences with little change to the content. 

While these tools allowed some professionals to learn, collaborate, and grow remotely, this wasn’t always the case. Individuals suffered from videoconferencing fatigue and learning content failed to account for an entirely different learning experience. Professionals report excessive team meetings as managers attempt to capture the informal learning experience offered in the office.

Now, with industry leaders such as Josh Bersin confident that hybrid work will become the new normal, it might be time to take a critical eye to how we design remote learning and training. In their eBook The Learner Social Contract, Totara Learning highlights the importance of designing for an experience, not just designing an online lesson. 

With that in mind, you might be asking:

If not video calls, where?

While regular online meetings are one avenue for providing formal and informal training, long video calls or lecture style training can leave your learner’s attention in the dust. The 70:20:10 model takes the pressure off the formal learning experiences that we’re used to and highlights opportunities outside the seminar room. 

But how do we provide the learning opportunities that we’re sorely missing?

Storytelling

Telling stories can improve engagement, keep you focused, and help you remember what you learned. Your organisation already has storytellers and now it’s time to find them. Before you know it, you’ll be

  • Listening to a short podcast about how a colleague tackled a particular challenge;
  • Watching a technical demonstration on a scenario a team member dealt with; and
  • Reading a personal case study written by a peer 

Want to learn more about storytelling? Why not check out our short guide!

Practice

In the 70:20:10 model, 70% of learning is done through experience. So if your learning requirements are more hands-on, video conferencing tools might not be the solution for you. Giving learners practical experience while remote can be difficult, but not if you have the tools to implement Virtual Reality or Alternate Reality. 

VR is a great way to implement storytelling in your organisation, too. Once the headset is on, learners are completely immersed in their new virtual environments. Creating scenarios for learners to practice their skills creates room for them to make mistakes and learn safely.

Find out more about Androgogic and immersive VR here.

Mindful learning

It’s likely you probably won’t want to kill off your video conferencing software of choice entirely. To use your time more effectively, though, try out the flipped classroom approach. In flipped classrooms, meetings with instructors are strictly for discussion and questioning, while engaging with the learning content is done on the learner’s own time.

Introducing mindful learning into your organisation might help transform these discussions from mandatory seminars to thoughtful and useful discussion. Mindful learning can be characterised by two key habits:

  1. Noticing the new
  2. Considering other perspectives

If your learners are ready to engage mindfully with the learning content, they’ll brighten up your video conferences and turn them into a medium for real learning.

A Learning Experience Platform

If your learners are remote and are missing the social component of learning, it might be time to consider a learning experience platform (LXP) like Totara Engage. Social learning is the 20 in 70:20:10 and it shouldn’t be neglected. 

A quality LXP will offer Workspaces for learners to share resources, tips, courses, videos, and links they find helpful with others who share interests. Learners will be able to interact with resources the same way they would on a social media platform, by giving it a like or commenting to ask a question or share their expertise.

Using resource playlists on your LXP will allow users to organise microlearning on a similar theme and share it with others. Integration with Microsoft Teams will also allow learners to share resources in the flow of work for just-in-time learning.

What next?

Take a leap of faith to keep your learners on track. Run a pulse survey to find out whether using video conferencing tools are working for your audience. If it isn’t, consider implementing digital storytelling, mindful learning, hands-on experience, or your very own LXP. 

Got more ideas for keeping your learners motivated without video conferences? Let us know on Twitter.