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Mobile learning. Can students really multitask?

, , , University of Leuven Campus Kortrijk, Belgium

Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia Volume 20, Number 1, ISSN 1055-8896 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


The advent of mobile learning offers opportunities for students to do two things at once in an educational context. Students can learn while performing another activity. Two experiments were set up to examine the effect of performing a secondary task while learning with a mobile device. In the experimental group, the participants had to combine a learning task (watching movies on an iPod while sitting at a desk) with a secondary task (screwing). The control group only had to perform the learning task. Additionally, participants of the experimental group received different instructions. Some were asked to do both tasks as good as possible, others were told that the learning was important and the screwing less important and the opposite was told to the participants of the third experimental group. Afterwards, all the participants had to complete a learning test and participants of the experimental group also received a screwing score. In general, the effect of condition on the learning task was rather limited. Only one significant effect was found and it was limited to a difference between students of the control group who outperformed the students focusing on the screwing task while learning.


Coens, J., Reynvoet, B. & Clarebout, G. (2011). Mobile learning. Can students really multitask?. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 20(1), 5-20. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved April 21, 2019 from .

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Cited By

  1. Mobile Learning Readiness in Caribbean Tertiary Institutions - Are We Ready?

    Sandra Figaro-Henry, University of the West Indies, Trinidad And Tobago; Isidora Mitchell, University of Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad And Tobago; Elia Grant-Fraser, University of the West Indies- Open Campus, Trinidad And Tobago

    E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2011 (Oct 18, 2011) pp. 1193–1198

  2. Listening to an Educational Podcast While Driving a Car: Can Students Really Multitask?

    Joke Coens, Marie-Paul Senecaut, Bert Reynvoet & Geraldine Clarebout, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Kulak, Belgium

    EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2011 (Jun 27, 2011) pp. 3858–3863

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