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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Multi-tasking is the Wrong Way to Learn

Today's kids are in to multi-tasking. This is the generation hooked on iPods, IM'ing, video games - not to mention TV! According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study last year, school kids in all grades beyond the second grade committed, on average, more than six hours per day to TV or videos, music, video games, and computers. Almost one-third reported that "most of the time" they did their homework while chatting on the phone, surfing the Web, sending instant messages, watching TV, or listening to music.Kids think that this entertainment while studying helps their learning. It probably does make learning less tedious, but it clearly makes learning less efficient and less effective. Multi-tasking violates everything we know about how memory works. Now we have objective scientific evidence that multi-tasking impairs learning. See the summary at my Web site.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dr. Bill,
    I recently stumbled upon your blog and find it pretty intriguing...I'm thinking about buying your book!

    I have a little different opinion on this topic. I've always been fascinated with two of my bosses that are able to have "several" conversations going on simultaneously. I always thought how cool it would be if I could do that...only wishing that I would have that "gene" that provides that capability. Or is it possible to learn how to do it?

    So...if kids today are developing this skill, I think it would be a great thing in the business world. It just seems ultra effecient. The only thing I may find as an issue is that they're not dedicating 100% of their "mental power" towards a single discussion...therefore, am I actually getting the "best answer." Interestingly, with my bosses that are good at it, they usually are always right on target with their responses. It really truly amazes me. If kids today are learning this technique, I think I'd encourage it! Thoughts?



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