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Learning in the Age of Distraction

, , , University of New England, Australia

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Amsterdam, Netherlands Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


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.


Sebire, K.B., Gregory, S. & Bannister-Tyrrell, M. (2018). Learning in the Age of Distraction. In T. Bastiaens, J. Van Braak, M. Brown, L. Cantoni, M. Castro, R. Christensen, G. Davidson-Shivers, K. DePryck, M. Ebner, M. Fominykh, C. Fulford, S. Hatzipanagos, G. Knezek, K. Kreijns, G. Marks, E. Sointu, E. Korsgaard Sorensen, J. Viteli, J. Voogt, P. Weber, E. Weippl & O. Zawacki-Richter (Eds.), Proceedings of EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology (pp. 467-472). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved December 1, 2020 from .


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