Getting ready for live streaming online training courses

Getting ready for live streaming online study

Getting ready for live streaming online training courses and reducing ZOOM fatigue

This article, “Getting ready for live streaming online training courses”, covers what you should do to prepare your workspace to avoid aches and pains and prepare your mental state for studying online in a live, virtual classroom.

If you do not already know, ZOOM fatigue is a new term and dealing with it is discussed further down this article.

The use of live-streaming, virtual classrooms is increasing.

The beauty of live streaming online training courses comprises:

  1. No need to travel.
  2. No need for extra living expenses away from home.
  3. In the current environment, reduced risk of getting COVID or one of its variants.

A Face-to-face classroom vs a virtual classroom

This table compares the EBC Madrid and virtual classroom CertTESOL course features. Other virtual TEFL courses may differ, but there will be some similarities.

Course feature

Face to face

Virtual

Same CertTESOL qualification

Yes

Yes

Same course content

Yes

Yes

Set timetable

Yes

Yes

Dedicated trainer(s)

Yes

Yes

Classmates

Yes

Yes

Interaction with the trainer

Yes

Yes

Interaction with your classmates

Yes

Yes

Group work

Yes

Yes

Individual work

Yes

Yes

Private study

Yes

Yes

Scheduled breaks

Yes

Yes

Scheduled homework

Yes

Yes

Tests and exams

Yes

Yes

External moderation

Yes

Yes

Homework

Yes

Yes

Live teaching practice

Yes

Yes

Travel

Pay extra

No extra cost

Accommodation

Pay extra

No extra cost

Living expenses

Pay extra

No extra cost

You can see that the courses are the same except that the face-to-face course costs more because you have to pay for travel, accommodation and living expenses. For example, these extra costs for Madrid could cost as much as 2,000 Euros for a four-week TEFL course.

The only advantage of a face-to-face TEFL course

The only debatable advantage to the face to face course is that you are in a classroom physically sitting with your classmates and your trainer. A good TEFL course takes over your life for four weeks. Therefore, the chances of getting a decent amount of time off outside the classroom for touristy things is minimal. The extra money you pay is for sitting in the school during class hours and spending most evenings and weekends in your accommodation doing homework. Do you want to spend the best part of 2,000 Euros on this? We can think of many better ways to spend 2,000 Euros, but it comes down to personal choice.

Preparing your live-streaming workspace

Location

Make your workspace as distraction-free as possible. Ideally, your workspace will be in a private room, relatively quiet and free from interruption.

Computer

You will need a desktop or laptop computer. We do not recommend tablets or smartphones. The reason is that there is a lot of reading and written work, so tablets and smartphones are not ideal.

Posture

Reduce the risk of back pain by ensuring that your lower back is supported. Try and position your knees so that they are slightly lower than your hips.

Chair

Position your chair height so that your wrists and forearms are straight and level with the floor when you use the keyboard. This helps prevent repetitive strain injuries. Your elbows should be by the side of your body, forming an L-shape with your arm.

Feet

Keep your feet flat on the floor. If trying to keep your feet flat on the floor is uncomfortable, use a footrest. Do not cross your legs because it may contribute to posture-related problems and restrict blood circulation in your legs.

Screen

Your screen should be directly in front of you. Place the monitor at arm’s length and align the top of the screen at eye level. Avoid bending your neck when you look at the screen. To minimise eyestrain, keep your screen as glare-free as possible. Position the screen to avoid reflection from overhead lighting and sunlight. If you need to, close your window blinds or curtains. Adjust your screen brightness and contrast to suit your vision.

Keyboard

Place your keyboard in front of you when typing. Make a gap between the front of the keyboard and the front edge of the desk so that you can rest your wrists when not typing.

Mouse

Position and use your mouse as close to you as possible. Keep your wrist straight and avoid awkward bending.

Audio

Wearing headphones for an extended period is not recommended. It is best if you use loudspeakers. Make sure that your microphone is close when you speak. Otherwise, your classmates and trainer(s) may not hear you properly.

Glasses

Single focus glasses are OK. However, bifocals can cause problems. Bifocals mean that you have to keep moving your head up and down. Doing this a lot can cause neck strain.

Additional material

If you use other material when you study, like a pen and paper, position them within easy reach to avoid awkward stretching and twisting.

Breaks

Even though you are in a virtual classroom, it does not mean you have to be motionless. Instead, change your posture as often as possible, just as you would if sitting in a chair in a physical classroom. Use breaks to walk around.

Mental preparation for live-streaming workspace

Humans are social animals. We instinctively prefer being with each other in a learning setting. For example, as children, we learned together in a classroom with our teacher.

This social engineering, to a certain extent, has to be unlearned. In a virtual classroom, we are together, but we aren’t. A great quote from “Terminator” describes the problem “They look human – sweat, bad breath, everything.” A virtual classroom can do everything a real classroom can, but it is missing the “sweat, bad breath, everything” quality. You can see and hear, but you cannot smell and touch.

For some people, this is a challenge, and you have to get mentally prepared for live streaming online training courses.

ZOOM fatigue in live streaming online training courses

Zoom fatigue is a real thing, and you must prepare for it. Zoom fatigue is tiredness, worry or burnout resulting from the overuse of virtual communication. Some experts attribute the cause of ZOOM fatigue to an overload of nonverbal cues and communication that does not happen in everyday conversation.

Part of ZOOM fatigue is physical aches and pains. So follow the Preparing your live-streaming workspace to keep aches and pains to a minimum.

As mentioned earlier, there is no “sweat, bad breath, everything” factor. You are in a group of minds together, but your bodies are not together. This cognitive dissonance causes feelings and emotions that can cause fatigue and exhaustion.

Some experts suggest that ZOOM fatigue results from the group having to pay more attention to non-verbal cues. Some examples of non-verbal clues are pitch and tone of voice, facial expressions and body language. This lopsided use of your inborn skillset is needed because you are not face-to-face. It means that part of your human skillset needs more juice than usual, and so it gets tired quicker than expected.

We use high levels of cognitive energy to recognise non-verbal cues. However, these cues are difficult to visualise because the environment is not physically shared. Things we take for granted in everyday face-to-face conversation, like silence, can also cause stress. Silence in face-to-face communication gives a natural rhythm to the discussion; however, in a video conference, silence can cause anxiety.

Camera-shyness is another contributor to video conference stress. You know that everybody can see you on a video conference call, so you get stressed because you may feel pressure to perform.

How to combat ZOOM fatigue

We cannot do anything about the missing “sweat, bad breath, everything” factor in a virtual classroom. Unfortunately, it is what it is.

You can help yourself with the other ZOOM fatigue points because you are not in a competitive environment.

You are in the virtual classroom to learn. There is no pressure on you to perform and impress. There is no incentive for your classmates to act in a way other than as keen trainees. Do not stress yourself about aggressive or hostile non-verbal cues. The chances are that there will not be any.

Camera-shyness is something that you must overcome, and the stress is not limited to a virtual classroom. The physical manifestation of camera-shy is stage-fright. So whether you teach online or whether you teach face-to-face, you will experience camera-shyness and stage-fright. You must overcome camera-shyness and stage-fright, or you will not make it as a teacher.

Watch your trainers

Your course trainers are virtual classroom experienced. So do not just learn your TEFL skills from them; get to understand their virtual classroom skills as well. Watch how they speak, act and react. The virtual classroom skills you learn from your trainers will help you beat ZOOM fatigue. In addition, they will make you a better online English teacher and give you additional helpful communication skills. Learning valuable new skills is never a waste of time.

We hope this has been useful and all the best with your live streaming online training courses.

References