Reading and learning from screens versus print: a study in changing habits

Judith Stoop (CREATE‐IT Applied Research, University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Paulien Kreutzer (CREATE‐IT Applied Research, University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Joost Kircz (CREATE‐IT Applied Research, University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Publication date: 12 July 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to research the difference in reading and learning from print versus electronic media in a professional and educational setting. To what extent does the materiality of the medium influence the efficiency and effectively of the reader? What is needed to create “digital born” information rich texts? In Part 1, sustained reading of information and knowledge rich texts is addressed.

Design/methodology/approach

In‐depth comparative tests with a great number of subjects between print‐on‐paper, e‐ink screens and LCD screens. In Part 1 the results of tests with sustained reading of information and knowledge rich texts are reported.

Findings

All tests show that print‐on‐paper is still a superior medium for learning and digesting complicated and elaborate texts, whilst electronic screens are appreciated for quick information gathering, communication and navigation. Electronic representations of information and knowledge demand that the structure of the writing has to change.

Research limitations/implications

Given the rapid development in electronic displays, many issues – in particular ergonomical – become a “moving target”. An important limitation – which is one of the quests of this research – is the lack of sufficient genuine digital born texts.

Practical implications

The need to start and review the writing process; the appearance but also the structure of information and knowledge rich texts. A second issue is the need to develop easy capabilities to make an electronic text as easy a “tool” as the print text, with underlining, comments and notes.

Social implications

The development of novel ways of publishing educational texts.

Originality/value

Deep qualitative research in comparison with quantitative tests. Comparison between professional information acquisition and learning.

Keywords

Citation

Stoop, J., Kreutzer, P. and Kircz, J. (2013), "Reading and learning from screens versus print: a study in changing habits", New Library World, Vol. 114 No. 7/8, pp. 284-300. https://doi.org/10.1108/NLW-01-2013-0012

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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