The Effects of Communication Technology on Learning

Communication technology may arguably be one of the best ways to socialize and maintain connections with other people, however it also may contribute to ineffective learning in educational environments. Instructors face many challenges as they compete for students’ attention among a variety of communication stimuli.

Cell phones, and the broader array of digital mobile devices, pose unique communication challenges for both users and those with whom the students interact in regard with effective learning. The learning process can be disrupted by this type of technology, especially in certain academic environments. Communication technology may hinder effective learning by providing distractions, promoting procrastination, and diminishing the ability of students to focus. Communication technology such as computers, cell phones, smart phones, and other devices offer opportunities to deepen learning through creativity, collaboration, and connection, but those very devices can also be very distracting to students and ultimately contribute to ineffective learning. For example, during class a student will probably find it more important or entertaining to pull out their phone and text rather than paying attention to an important lecture. Recent studies exploring the effects of texting/posting on student learning outcomes have relied on the information processing theory (Mayer 151-161), as a basis for arguing that texting can cause distractions that hamper student learning. If the student is engaged in learning, but keeps losing focus because of a text message, then the student will most likely not store the information in his or her brain.

This gives little to no room for association of the information provided, because of the lack of attention caused by texting in the academic environment. This is not limited to texting, as any form of communication technology could ultimately cause a distraction to a student, therefore hindering effective l…