Out of sight, out of mind

A research project from the Business Academy Aarhus proves that students are happier and work better in class when their mobile phones are switched off and put away.

'Come on, we are actually adults! We can control our own mobiles'...

... said a class of marketing management students from Business Academy Aarhus last year when they were told they were in a mobile-free experimental class.

Lecturer Mette Risgaard Olsen recently recounted her experience to a popular radio station in Aarhus.

At the end of the semester, the students’ motivation was measured as part of the research project ‘BOOST’ in which most of Denmark’s business academies participated.  The mobile-free students were more focused, says Mette Risgaard Olsen, who is also the project manager of the research project together with Susanne Østergaard Olsen.

'The students were more satisfied and had a more unified class than others.  Many lecturers also noticed that these students were more present, had greater concentration, and quite simply worked better than the rest', she says.

An experiment with motivation boosters

Seven of the country’s nine business academies are involved in the project, which is headed by Business Academy Aarhus in cooperation with Dorte Ågård, Ph.D. and associate professor at the Department of Learning and Philosophy at Aalborg University.

The experiment with mobile-free teaching is one of a total of eight so-called motivation boosters, which have been tested and are described in a how-to book for lecturers (currently only available in Danish).

The results will be published in an updated how-to book for lecturers and will provide practical advice and instructions for motivational pedagogical techniques and class management.

Buried in your bag

Uffe Thomsen is one of the lecturers for a mobile-free class at Business Academy Aarhus, and he is pleased with the how-to book.

'We asked the students to turn off their phones and put them in their bags. If they're in their pockets, they still vibrate and therefore disturb when a student gets a text or other notifications.  Although some may have experienced "withdrawal symptoms", the overall satisfaction in class was much better. They are much more here', he says.

On a scale of 1 to 10, the experimental class’ motivation was 7.6.

By comparison, the national average was 6.7.

Facts about BOOST

The project was conducted from January 2016 to May 2017.

The project examined whether students at business academies in Denmark find that they lack motivation.

The consequences of a lack of motivation were also examined.

Seven of the country’s nine business academies were involved in the project, which is headed by Business Academy Aarhus.

Dorte Ågård, Ph.D. and associate professor at the Department of Learning and Philosophy at Aalborg University also followed the project.

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