Gellisch and teammates probed the implications of attending classes face-to-face or remotely; their findings are likely applicable in other situations, such as workplace contexts. The investigators report that “To examine the implications of the transition from face-to-face to online learning from a psychobiological perspective, this study investigated potential differences in physiological stress parameters of students engaged in online or face-to-face learning. . . . medical students . . . attended either regular face-to-face classes of the microscopic anatomy course or the same practical course online using Zoom videoconferencing platform. . . . A significant reduction in HRV [heart rate variability] was found in face-to-face learning, suggesting stronger stress responses in the face-to-face learning environment. . . . participants engaged in face-to-face learning showed significantly higher cortisol concentrations. . . . Additionally, increased sympathetic activation correlated with the discrete positive emotion of enjoyment exclusively within the face-to-face condition.” In short, the group taking the class remotely was less energized/activated by the educational experience. Also, the in-person classes were enjoyed more as energy levels built.
Morris Gellisch, Oliver Wolf, Nina Minkley, Wolfgang Kirchner, Martin Brune, and Beate Brand-Saberi. “Decreased Sympathetic Cardiovascular Influences and Hormone-Physiological Changes in Response to Covid-19-Related Adaptations Under Different Learning Environments.” Anatomical Sciences Education, in press, https://doi.org/10.1002/ase.2213