The effect of mobile phone usage policy on college students’ learning

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of mobile phone usage policies on college students’ learning. Based on quasi-experimental research, with pretest–posttest nonequivalent group design, two pre-existing groups were randomly assigned treatment conditions, namely the removal of students’ mobile phones (Restricted Phone Access), and the allowance for students’ mobile phone usage (Unrestricted Phone Access) during class lectures. Data were collected from 63 college students, of which 25 were in the Restricted Phone Access group and 38 in the Unrestricted Phone Access group, using pretest and posttest. The results of a mixed analysis of variance test showed that the change in students’ scores from pretest to posttest was significantly greater for the Restricted Phone Access group than the Unrestricted Phone Access group, although there was a statistically significant increase seen in the students’ test scores from pretest to posttest regardless of any policy on mobile phone usage. This study discusses the theoretical and practical implications, and then recommendations were put forward with regards to future studies in this area.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Aagaard, J. (2015). Drawn to distraction: A qualitative study of off-task use of educational technology. Computers and Education, 87, 90–97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2015.03.010

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bjornsen, C. A., & Archer, K. J. (2015). Relations between college students’ cell phone use during class and grades. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 1(4), 326–336. https://doi.org/10.1037/stl0000045

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bolkan, S., & Griffin, D. J. (2017). Students’ use of cell phones in class for off-task behaviors: The indirect impact of instructors’ teaching behaviors through boredom and students’ attitudes. Communication Education, 66(3), 313–329. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634523.2016.1241888

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Campbell, S. W. (2006). Perceptions of mobile phones in college classrooms: Ringing, cheating, and classroom policies. Communication Education, 55(3), 280–294. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634520600748573

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Carrillo, R., & Subrahmanyam, K. (2015). Mobile phone multitasking and learning. In Z. Yan (Ed.), Encyclopedia of mobile phone behavior (pp. 82–92). Hershey: IGI Global.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Chen, B., Seilhamer, R., Bennett, L., & Bauer, S. (2015). Students’ mobile learning practices in higher education: A multi-year study. EDUCAUSE Review. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/6/students-mobile-learning-practices-in-higher-education-a-multiyear-study.

  7. Chen, Q., & Yan, Z. (2016). Does multitasking with mobile phones affect learning? A review. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 34–42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.07.047

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Crompton, H., & Burke, D. (2018). The use of mobile learning in higher education: A systematic review. Computers and Education, 123, 53–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.04.007

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Drozdenko, R., Tesch, F., & Coelho, D. (2012). Learning styles and classroom distractions: A comparison of undergraduate and graduate students. In proceedings of 19th ASBBS annual conference (Vol. 19, pp. 268–277). Las Vegas, NV. Retrieved from https://asbbs.org/files/ASBBS2012V1/PDF/D/DrozdenkoR.pdf.

  10. Gingerich, A. C., & Lineweaver, T. T. (2014). OMG! Texting in class=u fail: (empirical evidence that text messaging during class disrupts comprehension. Teaching of Psychology, 41(1), 44–51. https://doi.org/10.1177/0098628313514177

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Glass, A. L., & Kang, M. (2019). Dividing attention in the classroom reduces exam performance. Educational Psychology, 39(3), 395–408. https://doi.org/10.1080/01443410.2018.1489046

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Gliner, J. A., Morgan, G. A., & Leech, N. L. (2017). Research methods in applied settings: An integrated approach to design and analysis (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Kane, M. J., & McVay, J. C. (2012). What mind wandering reveals about executive-control abilities and failures. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21(5), 348–354. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721412454875

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Kuznekoff, J. H., & Titsworth, S. (2013). The impact of mobile phone usage on student learning. Communication Education, 62(3), 233–252. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634523.2013.767917

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Langmia, K., & Glass, A. (2014). Coping with smart phone ‘distractions’ in a college classroom. Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication, 4(1), 13–23.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Lepp, A., Barkley, J. E., & Karpinski, A. C. (2015). The relationship between cell phone use and academic performance in a sample of U.S. college students. Sage Open, 5(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015573169

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Lepp, A., Barkley, J. E., Sanders, G. J., Rebold, M., & Gates, P. (2013). The relationship between cell phone use, physical and sedentary activity, and cardiorespiratory fitness in a sample of U.S. college students. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 10, 79. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-10-79

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia learning (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Mendoza, J. S., Pody, B. C., Lee, S., Kim, M., & McDonough, I. M. (2018). The effect of cellphones on attention and learning: The influences of time, distraction, and nomophobia. Computers in Human Behavior, 86, 52–60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.04.027

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Mertens, D. M. (2015). Research and evaluation in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Moeller, S., Powers, E., & Roberts, J. (2012). «The world unplugged» and «24 hours without media»: Media literacy to develop self-awareness regarding media. Communicator, 39(20), 45–52. https://doi.org/10.3916/C39-2012-02-04

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. O’Donnell, S., & Epstein, L. H. (2019). Smartphones are more reinforcing than food for students. Addictive Behaviors, 90, 124–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.10.018

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Posner, M. I. (1990). Hierarchical distributed networks in the neuropsychology of selective attention. In A. Cramazza (Ed.), Cognitive neuropsychology and neurolinguistics: Advances in models of cognitive function and impairment (pp. 187–210). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Rashid, T., & Asghar, H. M. (2016). Technology use, self-directed learning, student engagement and academic performance: Examining the interrelations. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 604–612. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.05.084

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Saran, M., & Seferoğlu, G. (2010). Supporting foreign language vocabulary learning through multimedia messages via mobile phones. H. U. Journal of Education, 38, 252–266.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Steel, C. (2012). Fitting learning into life: Language students’ perspectives on benefits of using mobile apps. In proceedings of ASCILITE 2012: Future challenges, sustainable futures (pp. 875–880). Wellington, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://www.ascilite.org/conferences/Wellington12/2012/images/custom/steel%2c_caroline_-_fitting_learning.pdf.

  27. Sternberg, R. J., Sternberg, K., & Mio, J. (2012). Cognitive Psychology (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Sung, Y., Chang, K., & Yang, J. (2015). How effective are mobile devices for language learning? A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review, 16, 68–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2015.09.001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Sung, Y., Chang, K., & Liu, T. (2016). The effects of integrating mobile devices with teaching and learning on students’ learning performance: A meta-analysis and research synthesis. Computers and Education, 94, 252–275. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2015.11.008

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Thomas, K. M., O’Bannon, B. W., & Britt, V. G. (2014). Standing in the schoolhouse door: Teacher perceptions of mobile phones in the classroom. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 46(4), 373–395. https://doi.org/10.1080/15391523.2014.925686

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Tindell, D. R., & Bohlander, R. W. (2012). The use and abuse of cell phones and text messaging in the classroom: A survey of college students. College Teaching, 60(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1080/87567555.2011.604802

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. van der Schuur, W. A., Baumgartner, S. E., Sumter, S. R., & Valkenburg, P. M. (2015). The consequences of media multitasking for youth: A review. Computers in Human Behavior, 53, 204–215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.06.035

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Wei, F. F., & Wang, Y. K. (2010). Students’ silent messages: Can teacher verbal and nonverbal immediacy moderate student use of text messaging in class? Communication Education, 59(4), 475–496. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634523.2010.496092

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Wood, E., Mirza, A., & Shaw, L. (2018). Using technology to promote classroom instruction: Assessing incidences of on-task and off-task multitasking and learning. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 30(3), 553–571. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-018-9185-1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Wood, E., & Zivcakova, L. (2015). Understanding multimedia multitasking in educational settings. In L. D. Rosen, N. A. Cheever, & L. M. Carrier (Eds.), The wiley handbook of psychology, technology, and society (pp. 402–419). Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Yildirim, C., & Correia, A. (2015). Exploring the dimensions of nomophobia: Development and validation of a self-reported questionnaire. Computers in Human Behavior, 49, 130–137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.02.059

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Yildirim, C., Sumuer, E., Adnan, M., & Yildirim, S. (2016). A growing fear: Prevalence of nomophobia among Turkish college students. Information Development, 32(5), 1322–1331. https://doi.org/10.1177/0266666915599025

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Evren Sumuer.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Sumuer, E. The effect of mobile phone usage policy on college students’ learning. J Comput High Educ (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-020-09265-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Mobile phone usage
  • Classroom policy
  • Learning
  • College students