We’ve all heard the phrase “Zoom Fatigue” and it’s not to lay the blame on that particular platform. There is plenty of fatigue to go around. We have WebEx Fatigue, Skype Fatigue and the list goes on. A better name would be “Virtual Meeting Fatigue” or “Virtual Training Fatigue” and it’s a real thing.
Some researchers believe that being on a video call is so exhausting because it requires a person to work extra hard to focus and to “be in the moment”. This is because we can’t see the entire body to notice if someone is leaning forward or backward or crossing their arms. We have to account for the slight time lag (or sometimes big lag) and register the pitch of the voice, the raise of the eyebrow or the meaning of a fleeting frown.
Being engaged on a virtual, video call requires a lot of focus and energy to fully participate. Now imagine a training session where a person is providing information, showing slides, asking you to take notes and to actively think and participate in a long learning session. The other day my son was telling me about a six-hour long training session he had to endure and, even with breaks and exercises, he found it exhausting.
Interestingly, there is one type of digital, online environment that doesn’t seem to drain or exhaust people. It is the experience of playing an online game. Many of us have played games like “Candy Crush” or “Angry Birds” or online Solitaire. Games don’t seem to have the same draining effect as online video or online training.
There are two reasons for this phenomenon.
- Active Participation- Games require you to do something constantly. You are not passively listening, you are thinking, problem-solving and strategizing. When you are active, it engages you and focuses your energy. This then, typically, acts as a stimulant and you become energized and excited. I’ve seen learners participate in a digital learning game who have stood up during the entire experience as they interacted with other players during the course of the game.
- Consequential Decision Making-With many virtual classroom sessions learners are not asked to make decisions that directly impact what they are doing. The trainer might ask a rhetorical question or might ask the learners to reflect on an idea or thought or even discuss an answer but nothing much results. There is no “wrong” answer that causes someone else to have an advantage, there is nothing at stake with the questions. But, when you play a game, a wrong answer, an incorrect move and suddenly someone else has an advantage. Someone else could win the prize. It changes the dynamics of the situation. Decisions, answers and moves all have meaningful consequences. The fact that each move has a potential negative or positive consequence avoids the dulling of the senses and helps ensure engagement.
So the next time you are asked to participate in an virtual, video-based session that lasts more than an hour, consider introducing the concept of a digital card game. You’ll find that the game adds both energy and enthusiasm to the subject and full engages the participants.
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If you want to create your own digital card game to help increase engagement and combine corporate learning with a little bit of fun, contact us for a demo to learn how easy is it to create effective, impactful digital card games to connect learners over a distance, drive home key learning points and track learner progress.