A Survey on External Distractions Affecting Students’ Study Performance During Online Learning


Laksmira K. Adhani
Human Science International Course, Faculty of Design, Kyushu University
Gerard B. Remijn
Acoustic Design Course, Research Centre for Applied Perceptual Science, Faculty of Design, Kyushu University


An increasing number of lectures in higher education are being held online. This study aimed to establish the nature and frequency of external distractions during online learning and to obtain students' opinions on whether distractions affected their study performance. We, therefore, conducted a survey with university students about external distractions during online learning and students' attention engagement using the adult ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder) Self-Report scale. Eighty response sheets were collected, half of which were from Indonesian students in Indonesia and a half from Japanese students in Japan. The frequency of distractions for this study is described as the number of incoming visual, auditory, or audio-visual notifications from electronic devices, such as pop-up windows of software updates, battery warnings, chats, or e-mails. A number of distractions from other external events was obtained as well. From the survey, we discovered that about one-third (25-37%) of 80 students reported that their study performance was affected frequently (“often” or “always”) by external visual, auditory, and audio-visual distractions from electronic devices. Moreover, a significant correlation was obtained between the perceived frequency of these distractions and the students' attention scores: Low attentional engagement was accompanied by a relatively high number of perceived distractions. Although online learning fulfills the need for social distancing and may make lectures or meetings easier to organize, it is not ideal for all students, given that many thought their study performance was affected by external distractions.

October 10, 2023
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