Recent studies show that online reading is limited regarding the comprehension of the materials or usability. A study at Arizona State University found that students had poorer reading comprehension in scrolling online formats than they did in print-like formats . Another experiment on the Kindle at Princeton University found that the Kindle DX was not suited for class readings. As a Kindle user, I found that the Kindle is well suited for pleasure readings, but not for serious readings.
Here, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports the study at Arizona, entitled, “Students Retain Information in Print-Like Formats Better”
The report, “To Scroll or Not to Scroll: Scrolling, Working Memory Capacity, and Comprehending Complex Texts,” described how two groups, of 20 students each, wrote essays after reading materials in either in print-like or scrolling formats. Those given the scrolling versions to read had poorer comprehension of the material.
Excerpts from the experiment at Princeton are below. Read the entire article here.
The University’s e-reader pilot program, which experimented with the use of the Kindle DX in three courses last semester, reduced the amount of paper students printed for their respective classes by nearly 50 percent, the University plans to announce today…
Despite the Kindle’s environmental friendliness, users said they often found its design ill-suited for class readings. Students and faculty participating in the program said it was difficult to highlight and annotate PDF files and to use the folder structure intended to organize documents, according to University surveys. The inability to quickly navigate between documents and view two or more documents at the same time also frustrated users.
In study, children cite appeal of digital reading in NYT (September 29, 2010)
In a digital age, students still cling to paper textbooks in NYT (October 19, 2010)
Ebooks and Libraries: A Stream of Concerns (Jan. 18, 2011)