Study finds multitasking on laptop impedes classroom learning

March 13, 2013

New research from York University observes that multitasking on a laptop reduces a student's ability to comprehend lecture content. In the study, undergraduate-level student participants were asked to attend a university-style lecture and take notes using their laptops as a primary task. Half of the participants were then randomly assigned to complete a series of non-lecture related online tasks during the lecture. In a comprehension test at the end of the lecture, these participants performed worse than the non-multitasking participants. Another set of undergraduates was asked to take notes using pencil and paper during the lecture. Some of them were strategically seated in the classroom so that they were in view of those multitasking on laptops, while others had a distraction-free view of the lecture. Researchers found that both the multitasking student and the peer in close vicinity performed poorly on in-class assessments compared to non-multitasking students. York U News Release