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Educause: Paper or Tablet? Reading Recall and Comprehension

Paper or Tablet? Reading Recall and Comprehension

http://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/9/paper-or-tablet-reading-recall-and-comprehension

“What effect do digital devices have on our digital brains? To uncover the influence on learning of using digital tablets for reading, the Coast Guard Leadership Development Center conducted an experiment to ascertain differences in recall and comprehension between tablet and paper readers.”

Snippets:

Digital Brains: What Research Reveals

“Research yields conflicting results in learning between digital and paper reading in part due to advances in technology and design features.3 While some contradictions reflect variations in research design and methodology, other differences may result from page layouts, such as single- or double-column format. Despite challenges from continuous technological enhancements, studies that investigate differences between digital and paper learners contribute to our understanding of cognitive processes. Collectively, results suggest that students engage in different learning strategies that might short-circuit comprehension when interfacing with digital devices compared to print.”

“Results

The total sample size comprised 231 students, 119 digital tablet and 112 paper readers. The 10 multiple-choice items were scored 10–0 (high to low), while the two short-answer items were coded for comprehension (4–0, high to low). To determine group differences,t-tests compared scores between paper and tablet readers. Results did not show a statistically significant difference in group means between paper and tablet readers for either the multiple-choice or short-answer items.

Nevertheless, an examination of the range and frequencies of score distributions indicated an emerging pattern: Compared to tablet readers, paper readers had greater frequencies of higher scores for both multiple-choice recall and short answers that measured comprehension (tables 1 and 2; figures 2 and 3). When combining the top two scores for comprehension, paper readers showed a higher percentage. Although there is a greater frequency of score 4 with tablets, this corresponds with a higher frequency and percentage of the mean score, 2. Despite no difference between group means, there may be a difference in individual scores. In particular environments or for specific test purposes such as military selection and ranking, this might indicate a significant factor.”

“Results: Hypotheses

H1: Students who read a paper article will have a statistically significant difference in greater recall accuracy as shown by test scores compared to those who read the same digital article using a tablet was not supported.

H2: Students who read a paper article will have a statistically significant difference in reading comprehension as shown by higher test scores compared to those who read the same digital article using a tablet was not supported.

Although there were no significant differences in group means, there were differences in score frequencies for both recall and comprehension.

Individual score differences can be important for ranking and selection purposes, as in military domains or in granting awards.”

figure 2

figure 3

Stephen

Posted on: October 16, 2015, 6:28 am Category: Uncategorized