Using time pressure and note-taking to prevent digital distraction behavior and enhance online search performance: Perspectives from the load theory of attention and cognitive control

Jiun-Yu Wu*, Chen Xie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Digital distraction has become a chronic behavior problem for university students that interferes with their attention and learning within personalized learning environment. Applying a randomized control block trial with a counterbalanced experimental design, we investigated the effect of note-taking strategies and time pressure on students’ task-irrelevant browsing behaviors and online search performance. Students were randomly assigned to a matrix note, conventional note, or note-free condition and then to one of the four experimental blocks, counterbalancing the order of online search topics and time pressure. Results of the study showed that 44 out of 60 participants (73.33%) conducted at least an irrelevant browsing. Students in the matrix note condition and those under high time pressure exhibited a lower task distraction rate. Moreover, students taking matrix notes demonstrated better online-search performance. Note-taking strategies and task distraction rate were significant predictors of participants’ online search performance controlling for their prior knowledge. Study results are consistent with the load theory of attention and cognitive control and have implications to reduce student distraction and improve learning effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-254
Number of pages11
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume88
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Browsing behaviors
  • Digital distraction
  • Media multitasking
  • Note-taking strategy
  • Online learning performance
  • Time pressure

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