Understanding cyberloafing by students through the lens of an extended theory of planned behavior

Patrick Chin-Hooi Soh, Kian Yeik Koay, Vivien K.G. Lim


In today’s digital world, it is common for students to bring their Internet-connected devices to classes. However, using these devices for non-class-related purposes during lessons can be distracting and detrimental to students’ academic performance as well as frustrating for instructors. Defined as the use of organizational resources for work-related purpose (in this case, studies-related purpose; Lim, 2002), cyberloafing has a negative impact on the learning environment as it causes distraction and affects students’ attention and ability to focus. In this study, we examined students’ cyberloafing behavior through the lens of the theory of planned behavior (TPB). We also examined two new constructs, namely class engagement and habit. In addition, this study tested the role of two specific subjective norms, i.e., descriptive and prescriptive norms, in predicting students’ intention to cyberloaf. Data from 238 university students were analyzed with Consistent Partial Least Squares (PLSc) analysis using SMART PLS. Results showed that both habit and intention were significantly related to cyberloafing behavior. Attitude, prescriptive norms and perceived behavioral control were significant in predicting students’ intention to cyberloaf. However, descriptive norms were not significantly related to intention. Finally, class engagement played an important role in determining students’ attitude towards cyberloafing, descriptive norms and perceived behavioral control. In general, results of this study provided support that the extended theory of planned behavior is useful in explaining students’ cyberloafing behavior. Implications of the findings for theory and practice are discussed.


Cyberslacking; Pedagogical issues; PLSc

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v23i6.7837

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