Tuesday, 6 October 2009


As way of background for this month's big question - <Insert link to Big Question>, I went to eLearning Learning and looked up Multitasking.  Found some great posts.  But the basic gist is that

Multitasking Generally is Bad for Work and Learning

Clive Shepherd - A challenge to the multitask assumption tells us:

According to work conducted at Stanford University and reported by Constance Holden in ScienceNOW Daily News under the heading Multitasking muddles the mind, "cognitive performance declines when people try to pay attention to many media channels at once." Clifford Nass, co-author of the study, claims "the study has a disturbing implication in an age when more and more people are simultaneously working on a computer, listening to music, surfing the Web, texting, or talking on the phone. Access to more information tools is not necessarily making people more efficient in their intellectual chores." Also disconcerting, he notes, is that "people who chronically multitask believe they're good at it."

Will Thalheimer - Younger Generation NOT Good at Multitasking Either!

Read this great article in the Monitor on Psychology by Rebecca A. Clay.

It says:

  1. People in general are not good at multitasking.
  2. Young people are no better than their elders at multitasking.
  3. Multitasking actually takes longer. It is NOT a time saver.
  4. Learning done while multitasking is shallower learning, leading not to deep understanding (and flexible mental models) but only to an ability to regurgitate rote information.

George Siemens – Multitasking

A report on multitasking (via Mark Bullen) states “heavy media multitaskers performed worse on a test of task-switching ability, likely due to reduced ability to filter out interference from the irrelevant task set”. BBC provides more commentary.

Ray Jimenez - Over-rated - The Myth of Multitasking

Christine Rosen writes on The Myth of Multitasking,, on the different studies debunking the idea that we learn best by multi-tasking.
"Discussing his research on National Public Radio recently, Poldrack warned, “We have to be aware that there is a cost to the way that our society is changing, that humans are not built to work this way. We’re really built to focus. And when we sort of force ourselves to multitask, we’re driving ourselves to perhaps be less efficient in the long run even though it sometimes feels like we’re being more efficient.”

Doodling and Note Taking is Good

Lars Hyland - Doodling, multitasking and memory

doodling doesn't detract from concentration. On the contrary, a slightly distracting secondary task may actually improve concentration during the performance of dull tasks that would otherwise cause a mind to wander.

I did a cursory summary of note taking and found that most research suggests that effective note taking practices with appropriate summarizing generally results in greater retention.  I didn't find a really good summary of this, so would appreciate any pointers that provides a pretty good summary.

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