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Multitasking and Learning in Virtual Environments

  • Author / Creator
    Yuen, Connie L
  • Virtual environments are inherently social spaces where user productivity and collaborative learning can take place. However, the majority of existing studies to date investigate common behaviours such as multi-tasking within traditional face-to-face learning environments. As part of a thesis dissertation, this study investigated the importance of structuring learning environments to maximize learning and minimize virtual distractions. Using an OpenSim virtual environment, the researchers conducted an experimental study during the Fall 2013 and Winter 2014 terms with 91 undergraduate students at the University of Alberta. The study investigated the influence of participants’ prior computer experience, cognitive learning styles and extroversion-introversion on the impact of passive and social distractor tasks during learning and recall of factual information in virtual environments. The results indicated that prior video game use is a significant predictor of lower overall test time and higher overall test score, but the software recognition test, social networking use and virtual world use did not have a significant impact on learning performance. While extroverted individuals tended to complete questions faster under the interactive-type distractor condition, they achieved higher accuracy scores under the passive or no distractor-type conditions. Introverted individuals tended to complete questions faster and more accurately under the no distractor-type condition. In addition, the study found that field independent participants outperformed field-dependent counterparts by an average test score of 0.86 at approximately the same speed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2015-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3FF3MB2D
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Educational Psychology
  • Specialization
    • Technology in Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Boechler, Patricia M (Educational Psychology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Adams, Catherine (Secondary Education)
    • Carbonaro, Michael (Educational Psychology)