Learning in the Age of Distraction
Abstract: Ubiquitous technology permeates the way adolescents learn and interact in the digital age. This research (in progress) uses mixed methods to determine under which conditions Australian secondary school students perform best on comprehension tests, when faced with varying levels of digital distraction. The quasi-experimental design exposed students to three levels of digital distraction and three subsequent comprehension tests were administered to determine their understanding and recall of the lesson content delivered. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with students, teachers and parents to provide an insight into the perceived efficacy and value of ICT for learning, from the perspective of various stakeholders. Initial findings suggest that unmoderated (or unsupervised) technology use hinders lesson comprehension; however, controlled technology use is similar to traditional methods of note taking. Further research is required to understand how students’ ability to self-regulate and focus, in the face of ICT distraction, impacts learning.