Why Is It Important To Avoiding Distractions In Online Learning

When we’re in a group, we quickly lose track of who’s talking to whom. This is why it’s important to have them switch over to speak in order to teach our group.

Why Is It Important To Avoiding Distractions In Online Learning

I felt like my brain was in meltdown mode after the latest Twitch stream. The streamer had Twitch to him and the graphics were cluttered. It was bad enough that the streamer kept distracting himself with a bunch of pixels—although it took me two attempts to bring it all together.

When I was a child, I might have just put my headphones on, left my book and gone off somewhere else. After a few days of this, however, I found myself turning on the games more (perhaps to make up for lack of sleep) and only a little later came those moments of pushing for a call back. If you put your headphones in before you’ve been studying for a while, it’s not uncommon for them to get so used to where the phone is that it sets up and you never check them out again. A friend recommended Twitter. I signed up for one, but couldn’t figure out how to use it.

According to Hannah Saffron, an undergraduate neuroscience major at Temple University in Philadelphia, using visual media to study could be a valuable intervention. Since studies have shown distraction inhibits learning, the use of physical media can focus students attention and help them retain more information. As shown in the study, Facebook can help you read in web pages, and there are plenty of tutorials to do this for almost any reading, video or music genre. (They’ve got quite a few tutorial videos on Reddit.)

What Saffron does when a new person comes into a room at Temple and asks her to watch a video, she simply asks them: “Where are you?” and answers with, “Here.” It’s a way to control focus and lead with a problem: “Sit there. Take it in. Give me a minute. That will help you to remember the facts,” she said.

When she first started working as a research assistant, she used this technique for videos. “The first was a video of a walk. I wanted to see when her heart rate started to go up when she walked. But I didn’t want to break through her virtual reality to ask her a question,” she said. “So I asked her a question on a search, let her catch her breath, answered the question, then looked up her heart rate again,” she said. “When I asked if she’d taken her pill yet, I felt like it had helped to pay attention to the conversation.” She noticed that the video left a mark on her brain. After this, Saffron soon started inviting people in with their new-found distractedness and had a real impact.

She has a number of companies to provide videos for further study and personal use; the Nike concept clip, a Nike football team walk from the New York Museum of Modern Art, is a prime example. “It’s a way to incorporate intellectual activity, learning and teaching all into an action video,” she said. “They have been tried in study—a lot. But what I found with the Nike idea is that if you apply the voice, the synchronicity and gesture of the people in the video to something that you’re doing in class, you’re often also able to ask for help. That was not what happened before.”

On her blog, “In the Library Without Bracelets,” Saffron shows how you can use video in small ways to strengthen the learning process. “Everything has been connected, and more so as we move into this future. Any move, even making conversation, can be a learning opportunity,” she said. She notes that people may be tapped out of attention by the end of a session. This type of interactive video or exposure to different cameras “spurs the neurons which are after something new. A quick scan is OK, and a smart playback setting can guide the right response.”

According to the Tech & Learning blog, a report has been released at The University of Pittsburgh on behavior-based training techniques that help students master complex skills. “A series of testing tasks, this video technology is used to create a video story that involves activities that are simple to learn but challenging to learn well.”

Saffron describes study techniques like this as a foundation; just as a physics class uses solid and moveable units, visual media boosts studying. “We want to learn so that we can make decisions about our lives, about our careers and about society. This is a move into both studying and learning and now also teaching. We need to support visual media so that more people can make better decisions about themselves and the world around them.”

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