Posted: March 1st, 2010
Many researchers in the field of cognitive psychology argue that working memory is the “engine of learning”. The Chronicle of Higher Learning addresses the topic of working memory and lecture hall multitasking in a recent article. The headline, tellingly, is “the unwisdom of multitasking”. Several leading academic researchers, including Torkel Klingberg and Michael Kane are quoted on the crucial but also complex role played by WM in the learning process. New research at Columbia University is now adding an important twist to the obvious point that distraction impairs the learning process: learning while distracted may appear to work better than it really does. Superficial retention of information can be still be achieved, but what the researchers call the declarative memory learning is reduced.