[LifeHack] The effects of multitasking in the classroom

The Laptop and the Lecture: The Effects of Multitasking in Learning Environments (.pdf) by Hembrooke and Gay from Cornell's Human Computer Interaction Lab.

The effects of multitasking in the classroom were investigated in students in an upper level Communications course. Two groups of students heard the same exact lecture and tested immediately following the lecture. One group of students was allowed to use their laptops to engage in browsing, search, and/or social computing behaviors during the lecture. Students in the second condition were asked to keep their laptops closed for the duration of the lecture. Students in the open laptop condition suffered decrements on traditional measures of memory for lecture content. A second experiment replicated the results of the first. Data were further analyzed by “browsing style.” Results are discussed from Lang’s Limited Process Capacity model in an attempt to better understand the mechanisms involved in the decrement. (Keywords: multitasking, divided attention, technology, education, limited capacity model)