Learning in the Face of Digital Distractions: Empowering Students to Practice Self-Regulated Learning

Learning in the Face of Digital Distractions: Empowering Students to Practice Self-Regulated Learning

Anna C. Brady, Yeo-eun Kim, Jacqueline von Spiegel
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9243-4.ch006
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Digital distractions are an important and prevalent aspect of college students' lives. Using a self-regulated learning perspective, this chapter provides an in-depth understanding of students' digital distractions in academic settings and highlights how college instructors can empower their students to manage digital distractions and self-regulate their own learning. In particular, the chapter discusses both the causes and consequences of engaging in digital distractions with a focus on the impact of multitasking. In addition, the chapter argues that students' engagement in digital distractions is closely connected to their motivation and emotions. This chapter highlights how college students can regulate their digital distractions throughout the learning process during each phase of self-regulated learning. Finally, the chapter reviews the ways college instructors can support students' management of distractions through their instructional approaches.
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The Prevalence Of Digital Distractions

Digital technology has become a consistent presence in college students’ lives (Bauer, 2018). Specifically, digital technology is an essential part of students’ academic courses (Kruger, 2015). For example, students may use their laptops during class to take notes. In addition, college students use digital technology to connect with one another (Kruger, 2015). While digital technology offers opportunities for learning and connection, it can also trigger students to participate in off-task behaviors in academic settings (Dontre, 2020). Students’ off-task usage of digital technology such as tablets, cellphones, or laptops is commonly referred to as digital distraction (Flanigan & Kim, 2020; McCoy, 2020). Importantly, students’ engagement in digital distractions is not necessarily always prompted by the digital device itself; rather, many factors (e.g., task factors, environmental factors, learner factors) may influence a students’ engagement in digital distractions (Brady et al., 2021). In particular, students’ motivation and emotions may be especially connected to their engagement in digital distractions (e.g., Brady et al., 2021; Calderwood et al., 2014; Gupta & Irwin, 2016).

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