Examining predictive factors and effects of in-class multitasking with mobile phones

Liping Deng (Department of Education Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong)
Kelly Yee Lai Ku (Department of Education Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong)
Qiuyi Kong (Department of Education Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 11 March 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to give a descriptive account of university students’ engagement with non-learning-related activities during class time and explore the relationship between off-task multitasking and learning. The predictive factors for off-task multitasking from individual, social and class-related dimensions are also examined.

Design/methodology/approach

Contextualized in a comprehensive university in Hong Kong, the study adopts a survey design and involves 79 samples.

Findings

The data show that Hong Kong university students are avid users of mobile phones and heavily engage with digital devices. Off-task multitasking with mobile phones is a common phenomenon, yet not related to learning performance. Among the various media and apps on mobile phones, instant messenger stands out as the most frequently used app on a daily basis and inside the classroom. The individual device-use habit and classroom engagement are significant predictors for off-task multitasking during class time.

Practical implications

This paper will allow teachers and students to be more aware of the causes and effects of off-task multitasking behaviors during class time and derive practical guidance and strategies to pay heed to and resist the disruptive influence of technologies on learning.

Originality/value

The existing scholarly work show a mixed and incomplete picture regarding the effects and determining factors of students’ multitasking. This study includes three variables from individual, social and teaching/learning dimensions and seeks to evaluate their predictive strengths. The results of the study will deepen our understanding of the patterns of off-task multitasking.

Keywords

Citation

Deng, L., Ku, K. and Kong, Q. (2019), "Examining predictive factors and effects of in-class multitasking with mobile phones", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 49-58. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-08-2018-0056

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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