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Reading and learning from screens versus print: a study in changing habits: Part 2 – comparing different text structures on paper and on screen

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

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 30 September 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim 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 2 changing presentations of educational texts on paper, LCD screen and through a mind map are 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 2 the results of learning from differently structured texts from paper, screen and mind maps respectively are reported. The subjects had to read the texts and subsequently had to answer knowledge questions about the content. Group discussions have been carried out thorough the test.

Findings

All tests show that print-on-paper is still a superior medium for learning and digesting complicated and elaborate texts, while electronic screens are appreciated for quick information gathering, communication and navigation. Electronic representations of information and knowledge demands 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 is 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 electronic texts as easy a “tool” as the print text with underlining, comments and notes.

Originality/value

This is deep qualitative research in comparison with quantitative tests and a comparison between professional information acquisition and learning

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank their colleagues Gerlof Donga, Jacob Molenaar, and Jos Vrolijk for their continuing support during the course of the project. Alexa Brinkman participated as research student in the first test. Her persistency was of great value. The authors thank Keith Jones for his many helpful comments and corrections. They also thank Rens Groeneveld of Notubiz/Docwolves, Bob van Duuren of VanDuurenMedia, Marieke Gierveld of Noordhoff andTannet Remmelts of SDU for their kind collaboration and interactions. The project received a grant of the SIA-RAAK foundation under number 2009-14-3H, which is gratefully acknowledged.

Citation

Stoop, J., Kreutzer, P. and G. Kircz, J. (2013), "Reading and learning from screens versus print: a study in changing habits: Part 2 – comparing different text structures on paper and on screen", New Library World, Vol. 114 No. 9/10, pp. 371-383. https://doi.org/10.1108/NLW-04-2013-0034

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited