Cognitive Schema of Net-generation College Students: An Empirical Study from Three Universities

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Fangliang Zhu, Lizelle E. Villanueva


The current popularization of the Internet and digital technology, which leads to the ‘digital existence’ of people, has overturned the traditional lifestyle. The digital existence of Net-generation college students may lead to corresponding changes in their cognitive schema, thus putting forward new expectations and visions for college classes. Based on Piaget's epistemology, this study evaluates 395 students from three colleges and universities. The
assessment includes cognitive schema from perception, attention, memory and thought processing. Data analysis, by SPSS, includes frequency table, weighted average, difference analysis by ANOVA/T-test, and correlation analysis by Pearson coefficient r. Results show that the Net-generation college students' cognitive schemata are showing a certain ‘digital evolution’ and ‘digital dementia’ in four dimensions, including acute awareness of
visual audio but weaker text perception, the multitasking attention mode but short-time concentrate, Strong short term and operational memory but more dependent on external storage, strong jumping thinking and associative ability but weak deep thinking ability. Qualitative research based on teacher interviews confirms the quantitative assessment of cognitive schemata of the respondents. The discussions include teachers’ preparation in terms of concepts, roles, and information technology, as well as the balance between students' paper-based reading and online resource retrieval, and the reform of teaching mode.

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Fangliang Zhu, Lizelle E. Villanueva. (2021). Cognitive Schema of Net-generation College Students: An Empirical Study from Three Universities. CONVERTER, 2021(6), 413-424. Retrieved from