Research on learners preferences for reading from a printed text or from a computer screen

In this study, 254 Royal Roads University School of Business learners (graduates and undergraduates) were surveyed on their online course-related reading habits and choices. Based on their responses and anecdotal comments and the data from follow-up interviews with six of the participants, learners preferred print copies of text materials for reasons of portability, dependability, flexibility, and ergonomics. Recommendations include providing an option in all online courses to print electronic text files in a format suitable for reading from paper. Further research is proposed on the effect of extended time spent in front of a computer screen on learners’ preference for reading from paper.

Article originally appeared in: “Journal of distance education – Revue de l’éducation à distance”, V. 21(2006), n. 1, pp. 33-50

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