Friday, December 26, 2008

Online Reading Less Rewarding?

ResearchBlogging.orgIn an increasingly digital age, one researcher looked at the differential effect of reading print versus online, which seems like a logical choice. However, she found that online reading is less rewarding - and perhaps effective - than reading printed material. The reasons for this include less physical manipulation of the computer and the flashy multimedia on the pages.

reading onlineThere needs to be more consideration, she thus argues, as we integrate more and more technology into the classrooms and our daily life. So it might be better for you to go read the newspaper than to scan the internet and read little blogs on science...

Quick! Burn the journal! Hide the evidence!

OK, that might be a bit rash. Especially considering her study looked at older readers who grew up, mostly, before the digital revolution. I would hesitate to take these findings too seriously without comparing the effects between younger groups who have grown up on cell phones and laptops. It could be that reading in print is better for those who were trained to do so, but the newer generation, with open access to technology like never before, gain just as much from online sources because they were trained to do so.

Of course, my readers aren't the newest generation, so you all are probably better off reading something physically printed... Shoot, where's my lighter?

Anne Mangen (2008). Hypertext fiction reading: haptics and immersion Journal of Research in Reading, 31 (4), 404-419 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9817.2008.00380.x


Anonymous said...

Any reason why reading addicts can't have print, digital and perhaps audio for the car? Nerds want it all, right? And content counts as well as format. Science writers can find a ready market for their printed texts via group or individual blogs.
Online reading wins for freshness and cost, but the pleasure of reading printed books in any well lit setting loses nothing.