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Poster F18

How Internal Attention Impacts Learning from Online Lectures

Poster Session F - Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Ella Ofek-Geva1 (, Ido Davidesco1, Sarah Gilmore1, Charles Wasserman2, Mary Kate Coburn1, Hyosun Lee1, Annesha Das1, Advaith Pradeep1, Gitte Joergensen2; 1University of Connecticut, Neag School of Education, 2University of Connecticut, Brain Imaging Research Center

Maintaining attention for long periods of time (for example, during an online lecture) is challenging because attention, by its nature, is dynamic and often fluctuates between perceptually guided and self-generated thoughts (external and internal attention, respectively). This in-progress study examined the hypothesis that providing learners with opportunities to shift their attention internally during a lecture can improve their learning. To test this hypothesis, we collected EEG data from 98 undergraduate students while students watched a 30-minute pre-recorded science lecture, divided into six 5-minute segments. In the experimental condition, internal attention (“thinking”) periods were inserted between lecture segments. During these periods, participants were instructed to quietly think about a lecture-related prompt for 60 seconds before typing their answer. In the comparison condition, participants were simply asked to press a button to advance from one lecture segment to the next. Preliminary results indicate that participants learned better from lectures interspersed with thinking periods compared to uninterrupted lectures. Analysis of the EEG data demonstrates that EEG power in the alpha band (8-12Hz) was higher during uninterrupted lectures compared to lectures interspersed with internal attention periods. These findings suggest that providing structured opportunities for students to shift their attention internally can improve their overall attentiveness and learning.

Topic Area: ATTENTION: Other


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April 13–16  |  2024