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Effects of Social Technology Multitasking and Task-switching on Student Learning: A Literature Review

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With social technology on the rise, it is no surprise that young students are at the forefront of its use and impact, particularly in the realm of education. Due to

With social technology on the rise, it is no surprise that young students are at the forefront of its use and impact, particularly in the realm of education. Due to greater accessibility to technology, media multitasking and task-switching are becoming increasingly prominent in learning environments. While technology can have numerous benefits, current literature, though somewhat limited in this scope, overwhelmingly shows it can also be detrimental for academic performance and learning when used improperly. While much of the existing literature regarding the impact of technology on multitasking and task-switching in learning environments is limited to self-report data, it presents important findings and potential applications for modernizing educational institutions in the wake of technological dependence. This literature review summarizes and analyzes the studies in this area to date in an effort to provide a better understanding of the impact of social technology on student learning. Future areas of research and potential strategies to adapt to rising technological dependency are also discussed, such as using a brief "technology break" between periods of study. As of yet, the majority of findings in this research area suggest the following: multitasking while studying lengthens the time required for completion; multitasking during lectures can affect memory encoding and comprehension; excessive multitasking and academic performance are negatively correlated; metacognitive strategies for studying have potential for reducing the harmful effects of multitasking; and the most likely reason students engage in media-multitasking at the cost of learning is the immediate emotional gratification. Further research is still needed to fill in gaps in literature, as well as develop other potential perspectives relevant to multitasking in academic environments.

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  • 2016-12