Does Reading on Computer Screens Affect Student Learning?

A recent article, “Does Reading on Computer Screens Affect Student Learning?,” in The Chronicle of Higher Education* raises questions on how reading on screens may be impacting student engagement with the material. Studies cited focus on student attention and retention of information. The article includes some of the perks of online texts, such as hyperlinks and lower costs, as well as critics who argue that on-screen reading produces a mindset of “skimming and scanning,” possibly impeding absorption of the material. Long-term studies are needed for more conclusive understanding of this issue. This Chronicle article touches on two of our earlier posts, “Writing Notes “Longhand” May Enhance Learning” and “Media Multi-Tasking: Effects on Students’ Attention.”

*Don’t forget: Washington University faculty can set up a free Chronicle account with your email address.