While e-book sales continue to increase, electronic textbooks are not very popular with college students. This may be due to the fact that e-textbooks are read for different reasons and with different strategies than are e-books. Although previous research has documented this lack of preference for e-textbooks, student performance and use of electronic texts has yet to be thoroughly investigated, especially in naturalistic settings. This study examines students' use and performance on a variety of print and electronic formats in both laboratory and at-home conditions. Although students scored similarly across formats and conditions, reading time was significantly higher in the electronic conditions with this difference increasing for the home conditions. Similarly, self-reports of multi-tasking were significantly higher for electronic conditions in the home condition, possibly accounting for the disparities in reading time. We conclude by urging caution in the rush to assume that electronic textbooks are equivalent substitutes for traditional textbooks and argue for further investigation into the unique ways that students may interact with electronic texts to promote more effective design.
Computers & Education – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2013
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