School of Education
Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)
attention, academic performance, cognitive load, distraction, long-term memory, mobile technology, multitasking, smartphone, working memory
Robinette, Richard, "The Relationship Between Problematic Smartphone Use and the Academic Performance of University Students" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4543.
To fulfill the explicit mandate of meeting (or exceeding) benchmarks established for the learning objectives associated with programmatic curricular goals, it is incumbent and imperative that the educational process of sharing instructional material with students is not interfered with. However, mobile technology – especially in the form of smartphone use by students while in the classroom during learning activities – may effectively distract attention and focus sufficiently enough to jeopardize both academic performance and the concomitant achievement of learning objectives. The concern is serious and the consequences are significant. This study has attempted to ascertain if the problematic use of smartphones by students can negatively impact the learning experience. The research design plan involved a correlational explanatory approach with a population of students enrolled in a higher education institution. Each participant in a convenience sample from this population completed a Smartphone Impact Scale (SIS) instrument, which was then compared to that student’s academic performance. After data collection was completed, the analysis derived from normality assumptions and a correlation matrix revealed a statistically significant association and a medium effect size, which indicates the possibility of an undesirable influence by problematic smartphone use on academic performance. This outcome reinforces similar results obtained by other researchers, and – collectively – suggests that administrators and faculty weigh in these considerations regarding policies related to smartphone presence and extended use during a live classroom experience. Further investigations that feature differing contextual factors would help add greatly to a deeper understanding of this phenomenon.
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