Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Text messaging in class may affect college students' learning

Date:
April 4, 2012
Source:
National Communication Association
Summary:
College students who frequently text message during class have difficulty staying attentive to classroom lectures and consequently risk having poor learning outcomes, new research shows. Because it is difficult to demonstrate that texting alone can have a direct impact on students' cognitive learning, researchers used path model analysis to describe the relationships between texting, as a "mediator" or intervening variable, and cognitive learning.

College students who frequently text message during class have difficulty staying attentive to classroom lectures and consequently risk having poor learning outcomes, finds a new study accepted for publication in the National Communication Association's journal Communication Education.

"We know from our past research that college students who are regular text users habitually engage in text messaging during class lectures," said the study's principal author, Fang-Yi Flora Wei, Ph.D., assistant professor of broadcast communications at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. "Now we see that in-class texting partially interferes with a student's ability to pay attention, which prior studies show is necessary for effective cognitive learning."

In the new study, University of Pittsburgh-Bradford students who were enrolled in selected undergraduate general education classes completed an anonymous questionnaire at the end of the semester. The questionnaire asked about the class that they attended immediately before their general education class. Students reported how many text messages they sent or received during the class, on average.

Participants also rated themselves on specific learning variables regarding their class. These variables included self-regulation, which Wei defined as "self-control in directing one's learning process"; sustained attention; and outcomes of cognitive learning -- both self-reported grades and the perceived amount learned.

Because it is difficult to demonstrate that texting alone can have a direct impact on students' cognitive learning, Wei said, she and her co-investigators used path model analysis to describe the relationships between texting, as a "mediator" or intervening variable, and cognitive learning.

Among 190 completed questionnaires from students who attended a lecture-based class lasting 50 or 75 minutes, the average number of text messages students viewed in class was 2.6, Wei's team reported. Students sent, on average, 2.4 texts while in class. The researchers found no difference between the two class lengths in the extent of texting or students' sustained attention to classroom learning.

They did find a direct positive relationship between self-regulation and sustained attention, with students who possessed a high level of self-regulation being more likely to keep their attention focused on classroom learning. In turn, sustained attention to classroom education was positively related to improved cognitive learning, in terms of better grades and especially the perceived amount of learning, the authors reported.

These highly self-regulated students were less likely to text message in class than students with lower levels of self-regulation, Wei said.

On the other hand, students who frequently texted during class were less likely to sustain attention to their instructor. The results suggest that texting diverts students' focus from the main learning task, the authors write in their article.

"College students may believe that they are capable of performing multitasking behaviors during their classroom learning, such as listening to the lecture and texting simultaneously," Wei said. "But the real concern is not whether students can learn under a multitasking condition, but how well they can learn if they cannot sustain their full attention on classroom instruction."

Students should consider limiting their texting during class, Wei suggests. She said she does not think that university bans on texting during class would be as effective as instructors using interactive instructional techniques or other strategies to keep students' attention.

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford does not have a policy banning mobile phones during class, according to the authors.

The article, "Rethinking College Students' Self-Regulation and Sustained Attention: Does Text Messaging During Class Influence Cognitive Learning," will appear in the July 2012 print issue of the Communication Education. Co-authors are Y. Ken Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor of management and education, and Michael Klausner, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology, both at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Communication Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fang-Yi Flora Wei, Y. Ken Wang, Michael Klausner. Rethinking College Students' Self-Regulation and Sustained Attention: Does Text Messaging During Class Influence Cognitive Learning? Communication Education, 2012; 1 DOI: 10.1080/03634523.2012.672755

Cite This Page:

National Communication Association. "Text messaging in class may affect college students' learning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120404101822.htm>.
National Communication Association. (2012, April 4). Text messaging in class may affect college students' learning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120404101822.htm
National Communication Association. "Text messaging in class may affect college students' learning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120404101822.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins