Effects of Multitasking On Learning


Multitasking can be good as it helps students to juggle between different things on a to-do list.

But carrying out more than one task at a time generally affects their ability to do those tasks as expected.

When learners multitask, they can’t divide their attention equally between several tasks. What happens is that their concentration rapidly shifts from one task to the other. This process makes them less productive and takes longer time to complete tasks.

What is multitasking?

Multitasking can be described in several ways. It can mean performing two or more activities simultaneously or switching back and forth between activities. For example, checking social media posts while reading a textbook.

As much as multitasking may appear like a good idea, it draws away from the aspect of mindfulness for kids. Mindfulness is important because it helps learners to give full attention to one task – making them perform much better.

Studies have also revealed that multitasking reduces the ability of students to concentrate on their studies. One study conducted at the University of Waterloo concluded that checking on social media while doing other activities makes people more absentminded.

Effects of multitasking on learning:

1. Multitasking makes kids lose focus easily

It isn’t easy to focus on more than one thing at a time. It is the very reason why many states in the country prohibit texting or calling while driving.

The same thing applies in a learning environment – kids cannot use their smartphones while at the same time reading textbooks or listening to a teacher. Their attention will be biased towards one activity.

2. It slows you down

Many people who multitask do so to complete several tasks concurrently. But what they don’t understand is that doing so is generally counterproductive. This is because the learner is not able to concentrate on a single task fully. His or her focus keeps shifting from here to there – hence slowing them down.

3. Multitasking leads to many mistakes

When a learner cannot dedicate their full attention to a particular task, he or she is bound to make mistakes in whatever they are doing. For example, doing a math assignment while at the same time watching a movie or a television program can cause a student to miss some calculations because of a lack of concentration.

4. Multitasking is not good for the brain

According to a study conducted by Stanford University, chronic multitaskers were less efficient when they tried to focus on one task. The study concluded that with time, constant multitasking alters the way a person’s brain functions.

5. It leads to absentmindedness

Research has also proved that multitask learners tend to be more absentminded than other students who focus on one task. For example, checking social media posts while following a lesson causes the learner to lose concentration on what’s being taught.

Bottom line

Although it might be tempting to have your child do several things at once, it is important to train them to work on one task at a time continuously.


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