Journal of Computing in Higher Education

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 46–64

The laptop and the lecture: The effects of multitasking in learning environments


DOI: 10.1007/BF02940852

Cite this article as:
Hembrooke, H. & Gay, G. J. Comput. High. Educ. (2003) 15: 46. doi:10.1007/BF02940852


THE EFFECTS OF MULTITASKING IN THE CLASSROOM were investigated in students in an upper level Communications course. Two groups of students heard the same exact lecture and tested immediately following the lecture. One group of students was allowed to use their laptops to engage in browsing, search, and/or social computing behaviors during the lecture. Students in the second condition were asked to keep their laptops closed for the duration of the lecture. Students in the open laptop condition suffered decrements on traditional measures of memory for lecture content. A second experiment replicated the results of the first. Data were further analyzed by “browsing style.” Results are discussed from Lang’s Limited Process Capacity model in an attempt to better understand the mechanisms involved in the decrement.


multitasking divided attention technology education limited capacity model 

Copyright information

© Springer 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Computer Interaction LaboratoryCornell UniversityUSA

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