Social media interruption affects the acquisition of visual, not aurally-acquired information during a pathophysiology lecture
Marone, Jane, R.
Thakkar, Shivam, C.
O'Neill, Shannon, I.
Doubleday, Alison, F.
PublisherAmerican Physiological Society
MetadataShow full item record
Poor academic performance from extensive social media usage appears to be due to students' inability to multitask between distractions and academic work. However, the degree to which visually distracted students can acquire lecture information presented aurally is unknown. This study examined the ability of students visually distracted by social media to acquire information presented during a voice-over PowerPoint lecture, and to compare performance on examination questions derived from information presented aurally vs. that presented visually. Students ( n = 20) listened to a 42-min cardiovascular pathophysiology lecture containing embedded cartoons while taking notes. The experimental group ( n = 10) was visually, but not aurally, distracted by social media during times when cartoon information was presented, ~40% of total lecture time. Overall performance among distracted students on a follow-up, open-note quiz was 30% poorer than that for controls ( P < 0.001). When the modality of presentation (visual vs. aural) was compared, performance decreased on examination questions from information presented visually. However, performance on questions from information presented aurally was similar to that of controls. Our findings suggest the ability to acquire information during lecture may vary, depending on the degree of competition between the modalities of the distraction and the lecture presentation. Within the context of current literature, our findings also suggest that timing of the distraction relative to delivery of material examined affects performance more than total distraction time. Therefore, when delivering lectures, instructors should incorporate organizational cues and active learning strategies that assist students in maintaining focus and acquiring relevant information.
CitationMarone, J. R., Thakkar, S. C., Suliman, N., O'Neill, S. I. and Doubleday, A. F. Social media interruption affects the acquisition of visually, not aurally, acquired information during a pathophysiology lecture. Advances in Physiology Education. 2018. 42(2): 175-181. 10.1152/advan.00097.2017.