Transitioning from in-person to online learning during a pandemic: an experimental study of the impact of time management training

Apr 28 2022

Key Takeaway:

In an experiment conducted over two semesters (Fall 2019 and Winter 2020), research indicated how time management training increases self-control and time spent on activities, leading to more academic success. Not surprisingly, however, during the pandemic when time structures dissolved and learning went online, there was an increase in leisure time. —Matt Piercy

The study aimed to answer the question:

Might time management training (TMT) have an effect on student behavior when students transition from in-person to online learning? 

Authors of the article, Tabvuma et al., state that “overall, our results indicate that it is not enough to have technology available and optimized for online learning.  Students need to receive training and develop skills that will enable them to learn and work effectively in an online environment to overcome the challenges of learning in a less structured environment.”

Here are the major takeaways from the article:

  1. The pandemic resulted in a great deal of change for students as established schedules and routines all but dissolved. 
  2. Social and physical distancing, lockdowns, and reduced or eliminated work commitments resulted in much more unscheduled time. With time constraints and the norms associated with campus learning removed, students had more locus of control on how they might manage their time.  In effect, a new “game” was being played. 
  3. “Leisure media (e.g., YouTube, Netflix) provide unscheduled on-demand entertainment experiences that people can access at any time of their choosing.” This often leads to overuse. The authors argue that time management strategies can improve self-control in this area. 
  4. “A large literature has found that time management and time management training have a positive impact on individual wellbeing and performance, including students.”1

However, numerous limitations were noted. 

For example, the control of gathering data specific to the impact of time management training (TMT) was interrupted as a result of COVID-19. Data was self-reported by students and further, students were all first-year university students in an introductory business course. Only three sessions of time management training were implemented and divided over the course of one semester.

Summarized Article:

Tabvuma, V., Carter-Rogers, K., Brophy, T., Smith, S. M., & Sutherland, S. (2021). Transitioning from in person to online learning during a pandemic: an experimental study of the impact of time management training. Higher Education Research & Development, 1-17.

Summary by: Matt Piercy—Matt appreciates how at the heart of the MARIO Framework is a passion to develop relationships and a desire to empower students to uncover their purpose while building upon strengths  Further, Matt is inspired by how the MARIO team supports educators and is quickly and nobly becoming a collaborative force in pursuit of educational equity. 

Additional References:  

  1. Aeon, B., & Aguinis, H. (2017). It’s about time: New perspectives and insights on time management. Academy of Management Perspectives, 31(4), 309–330. https://doi.org/10.5465/amp.2016.0166 

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