Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Department Chair

Jessica Glass Kendorski Ph.D., NCSP, BCBA-D

First Advisor

Virginia Salzer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jessica Glass Kendorski Ph.D., NCSP, BCBA-D

Third Advisor

Kerri Newton, Ph.D.


The current study was designed to investigate the impact of media multitasking on learning outcomes in the classroom. The goal was to develop an instructional intervention that reduces the negative effects of media multitasking on learning outcomes by incorporating technology breaks into the instructional design. High school students in an all-girls school took part in three learning sessions, each with a different instructional strategy related to media multitasking in the classroom: Condition 1: Instruction as Usual; Condition 2: No access to technology; Condition 3: Technology Breaks. Students completed a pre and post-test knowledge-based assessment to measure their retention of the content taught. They also answered questionnaires related to their apprehension and distraction during each lesson. The results of a two-way repeated measure ANOVA suggest that while students experienced learning in all three conditions, the tech break condition resulted in the greatest increase in knowledge acquisition, and the instructional as usual condition resulted in the smallest increase in learning. Students also reported the highest levels of apprehension and distraction in the learning as usual condition and the lowest levels of apprehension and distraction in the no access condition. These results suggest that either restricting access to technology completely or providing tech breaks during instructional periods are more effective strategies for student learning and result in lower levels of distraction and apprehension. If future studies replicate these findings, schools should consider creating school policies regarding technology that build tech breaks into the curriculum to maximize student learning outcomes.

Included in

Psychology Commons