Attention Is Not the Solution: Experiences of University Students With ADHD With Remote Learning

Sonja Dobrowolski, Steven James Watson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paperPreprintProfessional

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Education and wellbeing. Since symptoms of ADHD affect the individual’s attention and various skills such as time management, it was expected that remote learning may introduce new challenges as well as benefits due to novel opportunities offered by technology. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven university students from one city in the Netherlands and one student from Germany. The collected data was analysed with thematic analysis. Remote education was generally perceived as having a negative influence on the student’s university experience and wellbeing. Key factors mentioned included reduced social interaction, disrupted schedules and increased procrastination, resulting in time management issues, reduced external pressure and finally reduced performance. However, the interviewees found recorded lectures and the availability of all relevant information in one document as well as social support as beneficial. The interviewees themselves mentioned several suggestions concerning improvements for future university education, including a support system from universities, which would offer study groups and information on organisation skills. Furthermore, interactivity during lectures could be improved and mandatory attendance may increase external pressure. The findings of this study suggest that remote education may introduce new barriers for students with ADHD. A major strength of this study was the participant engagement which led to target-group centred suggestions. Future research should address the suggestions offered in this research and explore intervention for social integration in remote settings and reducing stigma surrounding received support.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages66
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2022


  • ADHD
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Higher Education
  • Neurodiversity
  • Online education
  • Pedagogical factors
  • Student wellbeing


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