Thursday, March 17, 2016

New study finds students say they prefer digital text but perform better with print

A new study by University of Maryland Professors Lauren Singer and Patricia Alexander found that a group of undergrad students who were asked whether they preferred digital text or print chose the former but but actually performed better with respect to the recall of key points when reading traditional print. The study consisted of 90 undergrad students enrolled in human development and educational psychology courses at a large mid-Atlantic university who were asked to read 4 book and 4 newspaper excerpts that were each approximately 450 words long. Here's the link to the full study and below is the publisher's abstract:

Reading Across Mediums: Effects of Reading Digital and Print Texts on Comprehension and Calibration


This study explored differences that might exist in comprehension when students read digital and print texts. Ninety undergraduates read both digital and print versions of newspaper articles and book excerpts on topics of childhood ailments. Prior to reading texts in counterbalanced order, topic knowledge was assessed and students were asked to state medium preferences. After reading, students were asked to judge under which medium they comprehended best. Results demonstrated a clear preference for digital texts, and students typically predicted better comprehension when reading digitally. However, performance was not consistent with students' preferences and outcome predictions. While there were no differences across mediums when students identified the main idea of the text, students recalled key points linked to the main idea and other relevant information better when engaged with print. No differences in reading outcomes or calibration were found for newspaper or book excerpts.


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