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South African Journal of Education

On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
Print version ISSN 0256-0100

Abstract

SACKSTEIN, Suzanne; SPARK, Linda  and  JENKINS, Amy. Are e-books effective tools for learning? Reading speed and comprehension: iPad® vs. paper. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2015, vol.35, n.4, pp.01-14. ISSN 2076-3433.  http://dx.doi.org/10.15700/saje.v35n4a1202.

Recently, electronic books (e-books) have become prevalent amongst the general population, as well as students, owing to their advantages over traditional books. In South Africa, a number of schools have integrated tablets into the classroom with the promise of replacing traditional books. In order to realise the potential of e-books and their associated devices within an academic context, where reading speed and comprehension are critical for academic performance and personal growth, the effectiveness of reading from a tablet screen should be evaluated. To achieve this objective, a quasi-experimental within-subjects design was employed in order to compare the reading speed and comprehension performance of 68 students. The results of this study indicate the majority of participants read faster on an iPad, which is in contrast to previous studies that have found reading from tablets to be slower. It was also found that comprehension scores did not differ significantly between the two media. For students, these results provide evidence that tablets and e-books are suitable tools for reading and learning, and therefore, can be used for academic work. For educators, e-books can be introduced without concern that reading performance and comprehension will be hindered.

Keywords : comprehension; electronic books; reading; speed.

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