In-Lecture Media Use and Academic Performance: Investigating Demographic and Intentional Moderators


  • Douglas A. Parry Stellenbosch University, Department of Information Science
  • Daniel B. le Roux Stellenbosch University, Department of Information Science



Media Multitasking, Academic Performance, Student Distraction, Higher Education


The growing prevalence of continuous media use among university students in lecture environments has potential for detrimental effects. In this study we investigate the relationships between in-lecture media use and academic performance. Previous studies have shown that students frequently engage with digital media whilst in university lectures. Moreover, multitasking imposes cognitive costs detrimental to learning and task execution. We propose, accordingly, that the constant distractions created by digital media, interrupt the thought and communication processes of students during lectures and, subsequently, obstruct their ability to learn. To test this proposition we conducted a survey-based empirical investigation of digital media use and academic performance among undergraduate university students. A significant negative correlation was found between the number of in-lecture media use instances and academic performance. Furthermore, this effect was found to be pervasive independent of individual demographic factors and the intention with which a medium was used.






Research Papers (general)