ED 200 Week Eight Part 2 (Winter 2021)

Hi Everyone,

Learning takes focus. Neurons don’t fire and wire together without being focused. And yet how many of us believe that we are good at multi-tasking? How much better would we learn if we understood the importance of being attentive on what we are learning?

In this lesson I would like to share with you the importance of focusing your attention. I am going to try to convince you to put your phones out of reach, and to turn off your social media when you are studying. I am going to show you ways to raise your grade point average. And I will show you ways to study so that you aren’t simply going through the motions — such as reading a paragraph or page four times and still not knowing what the author is talking about. I will also share with you the Feynman technique —  a way of studying that will help ensure you leave university with the best education possible. Finally, this is important because if you do become a teacher, your priority will be to help your students learn as much as possible. It is important to practice what you preach.


As you know, one of the biggest issues we face as students and teachers is that when we are distracted, we don’t remember what we are learning, and we won’t learn well. Multi tasking is distracting. Unfortunately, there has been a narrative that suggests that people can multi task (or task switch). There is even a narrative that many people believe that suggests that young people are able to multi task better that older people.

But is multi-tasking really a problem? Can’t we learn to multi-task?

The research show that people don’t really multi-task well. Our brain doesn’t really do two tasks at the same time. Rather, it switches back and forth. And, as a result, there are always things going on that students aren’t aware of as soon as they switch to another task–whether it is listening to some music, opening a social media app, texting, or thinking about something different. The result is not remembering as much, and not learning as much.

For you as a student, this is a problem. When you are a teacher, this will be a problem for your students.

Today we will try to develop a better understanding of how multi-tasking (or task switching) is detrimental to learning.



We attend to one thing or another. We don’t attend to (or pay attention to) two things at the same time.

We can feel our attention shift from the faces (white) to the vase (black).





Learning and memory. Hmmmm. I wonder what attention has to do with memory?


Effects of Multitasking




Short term memory has a small capacity. Does this say anything about multitasking?

The Myth of Multitasking Test (NEW)


Why the Human Brain Can’t Multitask



Can You Really Multitask?


Digital Lives – The Science Behind Multitasking



Third Question Set Continued

Question 15: Even though many people believe that they can multi-task (task-switch) well, why is multi-tasking actually a detriment to learning?



Inattentional Blindness. Really?


Perhaps you have seen just how selective your attention is.




Joanne Cantor: What Research Says about Multitasking



Can You Get Through This Multitasking Test?




Peter Doolittle: How your “working memory” makes sense of the world


Question 16: What effect does multi-tasking or task-switching have on one’s working memory?



How you can become a better student

Now that we have seen how task switching leads to poorer learning gains, let me share with you two videos that could have a significant different on how well you do in university. By applying some of these techniques,  you can easily raise your grade point average significantly.

How to Use the Feynman Technique – Study Tips – How to Study


Question 17: In one or two paragraphs, please explain how you could incorporate the Feynman Technique for learning and understanding the content for one of your classes? List the steps you could use.



Question 18: If you were a classroom teacher, using the advice from the video above, what are three things you could tell your students to do to study smart?


I hope you feel as though you know a bit more about multi-tasking, working memory, and studying than you did before.

Study smart, and have a great day!