Does the internet help or hinder studying?

Published 21 November 2013  |  
AP

A new survey indicates that technology is having both a positive and negative effect on university students' efficiency.

The internet has proved to be an incredible research resource (Wikipedia, anyone?), but a recent survey commissioned by McGraw-Hill Education indicates that technology often hinders the study process.

More than 500 university students participated in the survey, which sought to better understand students' study habits and the influence of learning technology on studying.

In today's society, we are inundated by technology. Phones, MP3 players, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat all vie for our attention, with the allure of being able to check up on what our friends are getting up to 24 hours a day.

Nearly 40% of students reported that they find the internet, and social media networks in particular, are the biggest distraction when studying. Over half said they use computers, tablets and phones for non-study activities, such as texting friends or updating their online profiles, while they were supposed to be working.

It's not all bad news though, the survey indicates that despite many students not always using technology to their advantage, it can, in fact, improve the study process.

Those students who take advantage of the latest study technologies, such as adaptive learning programs, report that they feel less stressed and more productive. More than 50% of students said they felt "better prepared" and that they have "improved studying efficiency" as a result of using study technology.

"Studying effectively – and with the right type of technology – is one of the best ways to ensure that students succeed " said Brian Kibby, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education. "But focus is the key."

So close down Facebook and turn your phone on silent if you need to get your head down. Unless, of course, you've just made a really great sandwich, in which case your friends definitely need to know about it straight away.

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