Reduce Mind Wandering in Online Classes
A study done by researchers at the University of California and Athabasca University, Canada has shown that administering pre-tests to students before the beginning of an online class can reduce mind wandering. In two experiments, participants viewed a 26-min video-recorded online lecture that was paired with a pretest activity (answering questions about the lecture) or a control activity (solving algebra problems), and with multiple probes to measure attention. Taking pretests reduced mind wandering and improved performance on a subsequent final test compared to the control condition. This result occurred regardless of whether pretests were interspersed throughout the lecture (Experiment 1) or were administered at the very beginning of the lecture (Experiment 2). These findings demonstrate that online lectures can be proactively structured to reduce mind wandering and improve learning via the incorporation of pretests.