So much to learn, so little time: The study of time-critical multitasking behaviors in a multimedia environment
Abstract: This study incorporates both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine learners’ time-critical multitasking behaviors in a multimedia learning environment. The following questions are investigated: 1) What kinds of multitasking behaviors do learners exhibit when they try to learn a particular skill within a limited period of time with the goal to teach the skill? 2) How do learners search for, access, and discriminate the information that they need in a time-critical situation? 3) How do learners manipulate the information and construct their newly acquired knowledge for demonstration and teaching purposes in a time-critical situation? 4) How much scaffolding is necessary to help learners achieve the best learning outcomes in a time-critical multimedia classroom setting? The study provides baseline information on learners’ multitasking behaviors in learning process, and suggests an educational significance for the levels of scaffolding to help learners achieve best learning outcomes in a multitasking and multimedia learning environment.