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article imageUse of the Internet is affecting student study skills

By Tim Sandle     Apr 1, 2020 in Internet
The expansion of the Internet has opened up opportunities for knowledge acquisition. But has the Internet decreased motivation with some students and affected mental health in some cases? A new study suggests so.
The research, which comes from a university based in Wales, U.K., finds that an over-reliance by students on digital technology affects the degree of motivation that students can express. This is in addition to students losing the key study skills required to seek out and appraise information.
The research also looks at mental health issues and finds that the over-use of the Internet for research leads to increased feelings of loneliness. This is linked to a degree of isolation, where students come together less often to pool ideas or to discuss the intricacies of assignments.
The Swansea University researchers looked at the study behaviors of 285 university students. Each student was enrolled on health-related academic courses. Over a period of time, each student was assessed in relation to how they used online resources, together with their approach to study, plus their feelings of motivation, anxiety, and loneliness.
The study highlighted a relationship between higher Internet use and a decreased motivation to study, especially when Internet use became manifest as ‘Internet addiction’. Students who overly used the Internet demonstrated issues with their learning productivity and they displayed higher levels of anxiety together with feelings of loneliness.
Loneliness is seen as an important factor in terms of how positive an individual student’s feelings are towards academic life and the university experience.
Compulsive Internet use (or simply 'addiction') was classed as spending more than four hours per day online, with time on the Internet divided between social networking and information gathering. Around 25 percent of the students examined fell into this category.
According to lead researcher Professor Phil Reed: "These results suggest that students with high levels of internet addiction may be particularly at risk from lower motivations to study, and, hence, lower actual academic performance."
The research findings have been published in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. The research study is titled “Problematic internet use and study motivation in higher education.”
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