Virtual Offloading: Note-Taking in a Web Environment

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Spring 2023


Given the technological advancements made in recent years, and the ongoing pandemic, many college courses have adapted to an online format. This prompts the need for more research about how students learn in online learning environments. Undergraduate students viewed a video lecture and completed an immediate and delayed comprehensive test over its contents. Two cognitive offloading strategies—note-taking and re-watching lectures—were manipulated across four conditions to examine if offloading is beneficial during online learning. Additionally, we wanted to compare the effectiveness of each method to determine which is best for online learning. Results from both tests showed a benefit of note-taking, although we did not see evidence of offloading—performance on a test immediately following the lecture showed an overall benefit of notetaking. Additionally, those who rewatched the lecture prior to testing showed the most improvement between the tests. Contrary to our prediction, knowing they would have a chance to rewatch the video did not decrease the number of notes they took during the initial viewing.


Lacy E. Krueger

Subject Categories

Education | Online and Distance Education