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Social media usage and academic performance from a cognitive loading perspective

Irfan Hameed (College of Business Management, Institute of Business Management, Karachi, Pakistan)
Mirza A. Haq (IQRA University, Karachi, Pakistan)
Najmonnisa Khan (Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, Karachi, Pakistan)
Bibi Zainab (College of Business Management, Institute of Business Management, Karachi, Pakistan)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 4 February 2022

Issue publication date: 24 February 2022

2762

Abstract

Purpose

Social media has shown a substantial influence on the daily lives of students, mainly due to the overuse of smartphones. Students use social media both for academic and non-academic purposes. Due to an increase in the usage of social media, academicians are now confronting pedagogical issues, and the question arises as to whether the use of social media affects students’ performance or not. Considering this, this study aims to examine the role of social media usage on students’ academic performance in the light of cognitive load theory.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a quantitative research approach, 220 valid responses were received through an e-survey administered to university students. The proposed claims were tested through structural equation modeling using AMOS version 24.

Findings

Findings revealed that social media usage for non-academic purposes harmed students’ academic performance. Additionally, social media usage for academic purposes and social media multitasking did not affect students’ academic performance. Most importantly, social media self-control failure moderates the relationship between “social media usage for non-academic purposes” and students’ academic performance.

Practical implications

The findings of the study can be used by the academic policymakers of institutions and regulatory bodies.

Originality/value

The study suggests that teachers not only rely on using social media as a learning tool but also concentrate on improving student self-control over the use of social media through various traditional and non-traditional activities, such as online readings, group discussions, roleplays and classroom presentations.

Keywords

Citation

Hameed, I., Haq, M.A., Khan, N. and Zainab, B. (2022), "Social media usage and academic performance from a cognitive loading perspective", On the Horizon, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 12-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/OTH-04-2021-0054

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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