Mind wandering and education: From the classroom to online learning

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Abstract

In recent years, cognitive and educational psychologists have become interested in applying principles of cognitive psychology to education. Here, we discuss the importance of understanding the nature and occurrence of mind wandering in the context of classroom and online lectures. In reviewing the relevant literature, we begin by considering early studies that provide important clues about student attentiveness via dependent measures such as physical markers of inattention, note taking, and retention. We then provide a broad overview of studies that have directly measured mind wandering in the classroom and online learning environments. Finally, we conclude by discussing interventions that might be effective at curbing the occurrence of mind wandering in educational settings, and consider various avenues of future research that we believe can shed light on this well-known but little studied phenomenon. © 2013 Szpunar, Moulton and Schacter.

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Szpunar, K. K., Moulton, S. T., & Schacter, D. L. (2013). Mind wandering and education: From the classroom to online learning. Frontiers in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00495

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