Students, laptops and late nights

As we come to the end of semester the following two studies might be of interest:

The first is Patrick, Yusuf et al, ‘Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Cognitive and Physical Performance in University Students’ (2017) 15(3) Sleep and Biological Rhythms 217
Other studies into sleep deprivation have concentrated on the broader adult population or tasks such as driving.  This study looks at effect on university students of an all-night effort to write assessment.  They find that despite physical effects, the cognitive abilities of the students were not impaired.  So lack of sleep might affect their physical ability to write the exam paper neatly, but the all night cramming won’t affect their cognitive abilities.
Cramming of course may not mean they’ll have remembered what they needed to learn …
The other really interesting study is Arnold L. Glass & Mengxue Kang, Dividing attention in the classroom reduces exam performance  (2018) Educational Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/01443410.2018.1489046 .They make the fascinating finding that:
Dividing attention between an electronic device and the classroom lecture did not reduce comprehension of the lecture, as measured by within-class quiz questions. Instead, divided attention reduced long-term retention of the classroom lecture, which impaired subsequent unit exam and final exam performance.
And that retention is reduced even if it’s not you using the device, but you are distracted by the person next to you using one.
So it seems that if you check Facebook during class you won’t realise at the time you are learning less because your instant recall is just the same.  Later though, it won’t ‘stick’ with you and you’ll do worse in the exams.

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