The effect of instant messaging on lecture retention
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The impact of instant message interruptions via computer on immediate lecture retention for college students was examined. While watching a 24–minute video of a classroom lecture, students received various numbers of related–to–lecture (“Is consistent use of the eye contact method necessary for success?”) versus not–related–to lecture (“Have you ever missed class because you couldn't find parking?”) instant messages in addition to note taking vs. no note taking. Student self–rating for multitasking ability, typical and maximum instant messaging activity, and classroom computer use were also measured. Contrary to cognitive models of information processing that suggest instant messages will disrupt student retention of lecture information, no effects were found for number of interruptions, presence or absence of notes, or relatedness of interruption on lecture retention. Students’ multitasking self–rating was negatively related to lecture retention. The implications of these results for classroom practice and future research are explored.