Investigation of Attentional Decay: Implications for Instruction

AbstractGiven that attention is a limited capacity resource we are only able to selectively attend to a small subset of information at any one time. Endogenously regulating attention during an instructional activity is effortful and can be challenging for children as well as adults. Although improvements in attention regulation have been documented with age, less is known about the duration of time individuals are able to selectively sustain attention during instruction, due in part to methodological limitations. The present study leverages eye- tracking technology to provide an objective examination of attentional decay during a lecture. Adult participants (N=96) watched a geography screencast lecture while a mobile eye-tracker was utilized to measure changes in attention over the course of the lecture. Results indicate that attention declines over time and reductions in attention occur before Minute 15. Implications for instruction are discussed.

Return to previous page