No – this headline does not refer to The Learning Awards, a glittering evening held to honour the great and good of the learning world which was held at the Dorchester Hotel in London last night.
A study from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business has revealed that we are more addicted to media such as Facebook, Twitter and email than cigarettes, alcohol and even sex. In a study of almost 8,000 behavioural reports on over 200 people, the desire to update social media status and check work email proved harder to resist than addictive desires like smoking and drinking.
The study showed that desires for sleep and sex were the strongest, while desires for media and work proved the hardest to resist. Even though tobacco and alcohol are thought of as addictive, desires associated with them were the weakest, according to the study. Surprisingly to the researchers, sleep and leisure were the most problematic desires, suggesting a tension between natural inclinations to rest and relax and the multitude of work and other obligations.
Moreover, the study supported past research that the more frequently and recently people have resisted a desire, the less successful they will be at resisting any subsequent desire. So, as a day wears on, willpower becomes lower and self-control efforts are more likely to fail. The effects of willpower depletion explain why many people have trouble resisting unhealthy food: the more they resist the food, the more they crave it.
Comment: There are people associated with the learning technologies world who would love to see ‘e-learning’ added to this list of media. With the move to offer more e-learning via mobile devices and using some social media platforms to provide at least performance support if not outright e-learning, they may get their wish. However, I’m sure there will always be some old-fashioned dinosaurs who’ll still prefer nicotine, alcohol and sex to Facebook, Twitter, email or even e-learning action.