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Etextbooks offer the potential to change the way faculty teach and students learn. One approach to providing etextbooks enables faculty to custom tailor traditional 'flat' paper textbooks from major publishers by embedding videos and annotating them with comments. We conducted a lab study in which participants read a chapter in a computer networking book either in paper form, or using an etext system with annotations and a video embedded by the faculty member teaching the course using the book. We found that participants who used the etexts scored significantly higher on a test, the effect size was medium (.55). Interesting, participants did not recognize that they learned more and perceived that the paper book better met their learning needs.
Improving Learning with eTextbooks
Alan R. Dennis Kelly O. McNamara Anastasia S. Morrone Joshua Plaskoff
Indiana University Mulligan Partners LLC Indiana University HighPoint Global LLC
eTextbooks offer the potential to change the way
faculty teach and students learn. One approach to
providing etextbooks enables faculty to custom tailor
traditional “flat” paper textbooks from major
publishers by embedding videos and annotating them
with comments. We conducted a lab study in which
participants read a chapter in a computer networking
book either in paper form, or using an etext system with
annotations and a video embedded by the faculty
member teaching the course using the book. We found
that participants who used the etexts scored
significantly higher on a test; the effect size was medium
(.55). Interesting, participants did not recognize that
they learned more and perceived that the paper book
better met their learning needs.
1. Introduction
A new generation of students is arriving at
universities: the Millennials students born from in the
1990s [1, 2]. This generation of “digital natives”
embraces new technologies and information sharing,
and they are astute networkers [1]. But this is not just
about gadgets; Millennials have fused their social lives
and use of technology in ways that are new and
fundamentally different. They are characterized by: a)
use and fluency with multimedia; b) comfort with
expressing thoughts and feelings online; c)
collaboratively seeking and synthesizing information
and experiences; and d) co-designing learning
experiences personalized to individual needs and
preferences [3, 4].
Yet when they reach college, they are greeted with
paper textbooks many pounds and many dollars’
worth of them and approaches to learning that their
grandparents would recognize. These approaches to
learning do not meet their expectations and more
importantly do not take advantages of current
technological capabilities for digital communication,
something that Millennials have come to expect and
value. There is broad agreement that the move to
electronic textbooks is inevitable [5-7]; whether in two
years or 10 years, at some point, the paper textbook will
be a relic of the past.
So one key question is how can we use technology
to improve teaching and learning? In this paper, we
examine the use of one etext system called Courseload
which is in use at several dozen colleges and
universities. Prior research using this system has found
that students prefer it to paper textbooks [8, 9]. In this
paper, we examine how the use of this etext system
affects student learning.
2. Prior Theory and Research
There have been high expectations for leveraging
technology to improve education outcomes by
transforming textbooks from paper to electronic. Most
initiatives have taken one of two approaches. One
approach has been digitizing existing flat print books.
Most publishers now offer electronic versions of their
books (e.g., PDF), and several vendors have emerged to
sell these (e.g.,,, The Kindle and the iPad also create
opportunities to deliver these flat electronic books in
new hardware formats. There have been several
electronic textbook initiatives aimed at increasing the
implementation and deployment of these flat e-books
[e.g., 10]. These projects have met with a modicum of
success because they were designed to provide access to
a limited set of textbooks and materials. They offer
limited cost advantages, but little promise of leveraging
technology to improve learning outcomes.
Other projects have focused on completely
rethinking what a textbook is. These projects have
redesigned the “textbook” into a multimedia learning
resource [11-13]. Many of these approaches have shown
learning advantages but their high cost of production
make them hard to scale [14]. These approaches may be
useful for large market textbooks (i.e., for freshman
courses) where their cost can be amortized over many
users [14], but their cost makes them unrealistic for most
traditionally sized courses. These projects are grand
undertakings that are not scalable; it is difficult to
rapidly deploy and integrate electronic materials using
this model of building new content for each new
In our work, we adopt a different approach from
these two. Research on the information technology has
shown that it is best to never build new systems unless
there is a clear competitive advantage to be gained [15,
16]. Individuals and organizations are better off buying
or re-using existing systems, even if they are not a
perfect fit. Innovation research has repeatedly shown
that firms that focus on producing the best technology
usually fail and are beaten by firms that focus on
producing cheaper technologies that are “good enough”
[17]. There are more than 1 trillion pages of material on
the web [18], so for all but the most esoteric subjects,
useful “good enough” multimedia content already
exists, albeit scattered around the web.
Thus we believe the key to providing richer, more
engaging multimedia content in a scalable way is not to
create “ideal” new materials independent of the students
in a one-size fits all model, but rather to enable
instructors to easily find and embed existing content into
textbooks (and remove content) to tailor those books to
the needs of their students. That is, to enable instructors
to tailor their textbooks to the learning needs of their
students by finding the most appropriate “good enough”
resources on the Web and integrating them directly into
the textbook wherever they like.
The transformative aspect of information technology
is not just in the way it changes the nature of content,
but how it changes the way students and instructors
interact with the content and with each other. Our vision
for the rapid integration and deployment of electronic
texts and other materials is not grounded in the
traditional approach to developing new multimedia
electronic textbooks. Instead, we build on sociocultural
theories of learning [19-23] to exploit the social aspects
of information technology, to enable instructors and
students to tailor the learning experience to their needs,
to expand education beyond the classroom setting, and
to take advantage of Millennials’ comfort with
technology and their expectations for social
interactions, Our goal is to improve learning outcomes
while lowering costs and without requiring existing
textbooks to be rewritten.
Research suggests that the more students have the
opportunity to think about and apply what they are
learning, the greater the positive impact on learning as
measured both by self-reports and objective tests [24,
25]. Pedagogical approaches that utilize student-
centered active learning strategies as opposed to
traditional teacher-centered strategies have been found
to encourage greater cognitive effort on the part of
students that can result in increased student learning [25,
26]. Typically, this includes all subject-matter related
learning activities and experiences in which students are
actively thinking about and engaged in both inside and
outside the classroom [27]. Experimental studies that
have compared the performance of students assigned to
classes taught using traditional methods and those using
methods that promote active learning have found that
students who are more actively involved in the learning
process have higher scores on objective tests [25, 28,
We believe that electronic teaching and learning can
improve learning in four distinct ways.
1) Electronic devices and the pervasiveness of
network access enable the use of much richer, more
engaging multimedia content than the traditional paper
book and enable the instructor to tailor that content to
the students’ learning needs. Providing multimedia
content with different types of resources in different
formats can help more students succeed [30, 31] because
instructors (and students) can tailor the learning
experiences to better fit students’ learning needs [32].
Mayer and Moreno [33] did extensive research on
multimedia learning and found that in general students
remembered material better if it was presented both
verbally and visually.
2) Electronic content with instructor annotations
creates new opportunities for instructors to
communicate with students as they experience the
textbook. Instructors can annotate electronic textbooks
with their comments and share those comments with
their students. These comments are scaffolding that can
provide guidance to students beyond the classroom
setting so that they focus their efforts on important
content [34]. Instructors can augment the textbook with
their interpretation and views, making it easier for
students to understand and interpret the content.
Annotations also provide opportunities for instructors to
model expert practices by making their own practices
visible to students [35]. The capability for students to
experience instructor advice and commentary that is
integrated with the reading of the electronic textbook
provides opportunities not easily possible with paper
textbooks that can improve learning [34].
3) Electronic content with student annotation
enhances student interest, comprehension, and critical
thinking. Learning is not a passive process where
students simply receive information, but an active
process in which students co-construct knowledge [19].
They build upon prior knowledge and experience as
they make sense of the textbook, revising their own
current understanding as they encounter new ideas and
information and as they test their current schema [36,
37]. Annotation of texts can make an important
contribution to both the cognitive and metacognitive
aspects of learning. Underlining and highlighting may
assist in recall [38, 39]. More complex annotation
strategies, such as summarizing, paraphrasing, finding
examples, and asking questions, contribute to
metacognitive monitoring and enhance learners’ self-
regulation, recall, and comprehension [38-40].
4) Electronic content with shared annotation as a
social medium enables students to communicate with
each other and instructors in ways that create new
opportunities for active learning. Social media have
been embraced by Millennials through Facebook, blogs,
and Twitter. Annotation becomes a social experience
when students can share those annotations and ask
questions of one another and their instructors directly
within the electronic textbook. When they share those
annotations with other members of the class, students
may feel more conceptual control [41]. This also has the
potential to increase engagement and active learning by
inducing discussion and participation around the
intellectual content in the textbook.
This technology was tested over a three year period
at Indiana University [8, 9]. Most students (60%) said
they preferred the electronic textbook to a paper
textbook, but this choice varied dramatically from
course to course (min 36%, max 84%). Students were
significantly more likely to prefer e-textbooks when the
instructor actively used the e-textbook (e.g., added their
own annotations); student preferences were the lowest
in courses where the instructor viewed the textbook only
as a reference and made no use of it when teaching.
There were no gender differences. Students were more
likely to prefer e-textbooks in their second and
subsequent courses in which e-textbooks were used,
suggesting increased satisfaction as students became
more familiar with the technology.
This prior research was able to examine student
reactions to using the etext system, but did not examine
student learning because it did not compare a course
using paper textbooks to the same one using etextbooks.
So one unanswered question is whether etext technology
that provides these four capabilities to faculty and
students can affect student learning.
In this paper, we present the results of a controlled
laboratory experiment comparing students using paper
textbooks to students using this etextbook system. This
is an incomplete comparison of the etextbook system
because we did not examine students’ abilities to make
annotations or share those annotations with others
because of the short duration of the experiment.
Nonetheless, we believe that the use of the etext system
should improve student learning.
3. Method
3.1. Participants
There were 56 participants, drawn from a general
business course taken by juniors. Four participants had
taken the course using the textbook used in this study
(see below), so they were eliminated from the analysis,
leaving 52 participants. Approximately 58% of the
participants were male. Participants were randomly
assigned to treatments.
3.2. Task
Participants read the first chapter in a data
communications and networking textbook used in the
business school’s networking course and took a quiz on
the material. This course is taken by juniors and seniors
and has used etextbooks for three years. The six
participants scoring the highest grade on the quiz
received $50 (three from each treatment).
3.3. Treatments
Half the participants (27) were given paper
photocopies of the chapter. The other half (25) used the
etext software on a desktop computer to read the same
chapter. The chapter used in this study contained the
same 13 annotations that the instructor teaching the
business school’s networking course provided to his
class when teaching the course. Most annotations
identified which sections were important and not
important, but one annotation contained a link to a four
minute YouTube video produced by Cisco Systems for
use in their Networking Academy. This video explained
how the five layers of the Internet Networking Model
work together to move messages across the Internet.
3.4. Dependent Variables
There were three dependent variables. The first was
the score on a quiz, used to measure participant’s
learning performance. There were 24 multiple choice
questions and one open-ended question designed to test
deeper understanding worth three points, for a total
possible score of 27 points. All questions were taken
from the Instructor’s Manual that accompanies the
textbook. The remaining two dependent variables were
participants’ perceptions measured using five-point
Likert scale questions on a post-session questionnaire.
They were: ease of use (5 questions, alpha=.75), and met
learning needs (5 questions, alpha=.86). See the
Appendix for the items.
3.5. Control Variables
We asked subjects their GPA. There were no
differences in mean self-reported GPA between
treatments and it was not significantly related to any
dependent variable, so it was omitted from the analyses.
There were no differences in the proportion of genders
between treatments and gender was not significantly
related to any dependent variable, so it was omitted from
the analyses. Likewise there were no differences in the
proportion of those who had and had not used the etext
system in a prior course. This too was not related to any
dependent variable and omitted from the analyses.
3.6. Procedures
Participants first read the chapter either on paper or
via an etext for 35 minutes. Participants in the etext
treatment received instruction on how to use the
software prior to reading the chapter. Participants then
had 15 minutes to do the quiz. Finally, participants
answered post-session questionnaire.
4. Results
Table 1 presents the results. Participants using the
etext performed significantly better than those using
paper textbooks (F(1,50)=4.14, p=.047). The effect size
is .55, which Cohen calls a “medium” sized effect.
Interestingly, participants perceived paper textbooks
to better meet their learning needs (F(1,50)=5.42,
p=.024). The effect size was medium (.70). There were
no differences in the perceptions of ease of use
(F(1,50)=2.69, p=.107).
Quiz Score
Met Learning
Ease of Use
Table 1. Means and Standard Deviations
5. Discussion
The use of the etext with annotations (instructor
commentary and one multimedia learning video)
improved participants’ learning, but, they perceived the
etext to be worse at meeting their learning needs. This
is an interesting split outcome, with participants not
immediately recognizing the value from using etexts.
First and foremost, it is encouraging that even a brief
use of this etext system that tested only two of the four
possible contributions to learning (instructor
annotations and multimedia) had an impact on student
learning. The pattern of learning was consistent for both
the multiple choice questions and the open ended
question, with those using the etext system performing
better on both types of questions (means of 14.04 vs.
12.41, and 1.40 vs. 0.56, respectively).
However, participants did not recognize these
learning effects. They perceived that the etext system
was not as effective at meeting their learning needs as
the paper textbook. There are at least two plausible
explanations for this finding. First, the software enables
students to highlight and make their own annotations in
the book. In this study, we did not show students how
to highlight or take notes, so none did. In contrast, we
noticed that about a third the students using paper
textbooks made some notes on the paper copies,
although most of this was underlining (i.e.,
highlighting). It is possible that that the lack of
highlighting and annotating resulting the lower opinions
of the etext software.
An alternative explanation is that it takes time for
participants to effectively use any new technology after
it is initially adopted; there is a learning curve [42, 43]
When individuals adopt a new technology, they must
change their work processes (learning processes in our
case), so initial performance and satisfaction after the
introduction of a new technology often drop as
individuals adapt their old work processes to effectively
use the technology. Over time, performance and
satisfaction gradually improve as “practice makes
perfect” [43, p. 753]. Thus measuring performance and
perceptions the first time new technology is employed
may lead one to conclude that its use impairs
performance and satisfaction, when in fact improved
performance and satisfaction may only emerge after the
user has employed it over time and moved down the
learning curve [44, 45].
This study measured performance and satisfaction
after only 35 minutes of use while participants were still
adapting to the new technology. There was an
immediate performance improvement, but satisfaction
was lower. Prior research has shown that satisfaction
with etexts is higher the longer students use it; students
who used the system two semesters were more satisfied
than those who only used it for one semester [8, 9]. Both
of these studies examined courses in which the
instructor (not the students) chose whether or not to use
etexts. The decision to use etexts for one semester or
two semesters was not up to the student, and thus is
independent of the students’ opinions of the etext
system. Thus we believe that the lower satisfaction
observed in this study reflects an initial drop in
satisfaction which is typical following the introduction
of a new technology as students adapt their learning to
the new system.
Thus we conclude that student satisfaction is likely
to drop immediately after the introduction of etext
software because students must adapt their learning
styles to the new processes enabled by the technology.
The short length of the experiment precludes any
comment about how satisfaction might change over
time, although past research suggests that students will
be at least as satisfied (if not more satisfied) with etexts
as paper textbooks over the long run [8, 9].
Although this study suffers from the usual
limitations of laboratory research, we believe it has two
implications for future research and practice. First and
foremost, since the provision of a modest number of
instructor annotations and one multimedia instructional
video embedded in the text improved student learning,
we encourage instructors to adopt this style of teaching.
This study used both instructor annotations and one
video, because this is how this chapter is normally
taught during the class on this topic. As a result we are
unable to determine which had more impact
annotations or multimedia. More research is needed to
understand how students respond to both types of
additions to the textbook and how this impacts their
learning. It may be both are equally important, or that
one is more important than the other for certain students.
There is probably some ideal number of annotations
and videos for any given piece of content. One might
expect a declining marginal benefit for both. This
suggests that good practice would be to include a modest
number of annotations and videos, depending upon the
nature of the content and the availability of videos on
the Web. This too is a topic for future research; we
would hypothesize that too few would provide limited
learning value, but the provision of too many could
overwhelm students and begin to degrade learning. But
we need empirical evidence and guidelines for practice.
Second, students perceived that the etext software
did not meet their learning needs as well as paper
textbooks. This may be because we did not show
students how to highlight and annotate using the etext
software or because user satisfaction often drops after
the adoption of new technology as they adapt their
processes to it. Both explanations are plausible. Future
research is needed to better understand which is the
primary explanation for this initial drop in user
Regardless of which explanation is the best, we
believe there are two implications for instructors using
etext software. First, instructors should help students
adapt their study processes to the new technology. The
focus here is beyond showing students how to use the
software. This is a necessary but not sufficient first step.
The goal is to help students to change their study
processes to take advantage of what the etext software
can provide. This means 1) reading instructor
annotations and using the multimedia resources
instructors make available; 2) making their own
highlights and annotations; and 3) sharing those
highlights and annotations with other students and
reading other students’ annotations to better make
meaning of what the text has to say. By taking advantage
of the etext software’s capabilities, students can engage
more with the text, and learn more as a result.
Second, instructors should be prepared for an initial
stage of dissatisfaction with the etext software. Change
is never easy and changing study habits to encourage
students to engage with text materials is likely to prompt
some initial drop in satisfaction. Once this initial
change process is past and students engage more with
their texts, satisfaction is likely to increase, as past
research on the semester long use of etexts shows [8, 9].
However, some short term discomfort is to be expected.
Etexts have the potential to change the way faculty
and students teach and learn. Past research has shown
that students prefer paper textbooks to etexts when the
etext are simply digital reproductions of the paper
textbook (i.e., PDFs). However, past research also
shows that students prefer etexts to paper texts when
instructors annotate the text and embed multimedia
resources from the Web into the text and when students
highlight and annotate the text and share those with
others. This study shows that a modest number of
instructor annotations and multimedia video can
improve student learning. Taken together, we believe
these results are encouraging for the future of learning,
as it inevitably goes digital.
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Appendix Questionnaire Items
Ease of Use
It was easy to use the textbook.
This textbook was easier to read than other textbooks
I have used.
The textbook was clear.
I was comfortable using the textbook.
This textbook was more difficult to read than other
textbooks I have used. (Reversed)
Met Learning Needs
My learning needs were met by the textbook.
Using the textbook was effective for learning the
The textbook was compatible with the way I learn.
The textbook gave me the freedom to learn the way I
I was able to learn efficiently using the textbook.
... One possible reason for this was that the students in this study had had limited exposure to e-learning (Dennis et al. 2015;Weng et al. 2018). They only used the provided elearning resources over these nine lessons. ...
... As a consequence, students may be motivated by using digital multimedia, but this might not guarantee their higher cognitive learning outcomes (Sorden, 205). Dennis et al. (2015) also reported contradictory results that students using e-learning resources reported higher perceived affective results but scored lower on tests than those using paper resources. Therefore, in addition to more opportunities for elearning, the students need proper scaffoldings from teachers to face these challenges, such as effectively utilizing elearning resources and adjusting their roles or learning strategies, to support more self-reflected and personalized learning (Korbey 2014). ...
... This study found that due to the lack of teacher guidance, some tools (e.g., note-taking, search annotation) or prompts (e.g., prompts for POE-inquiry processes, open-ended questions) were not widely utilized by the students. Previous studies have also illustrated that students need to be more directly guided to be fully aware of the capabilities of the digital tools available to them (Dennis et al. 2015) and to be appropriately equipped with the skills of annotating e-learning resources which may not come naturally to them (Kouis and Konstantinou 2014) so that they can adapt those e-learning tools or resources to their own learning needs as early and as quickly as possible (Horne et al. 2016). ...
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Multimedia-supported e-learning is considered useful as it can offer an enjoyable independent learning experience to learners. However, the effectiveness of e-learning for self-regulated science learning is still inconclusive. This study aimed to explore primary school students’ perceptions and experiences of self-regulated science learning in a multimedia-supported e-learning environment. A total of 11 classes from grades 3 to 6 from four Hong Kong schools participated in this study. All e-learning lessons were observed, and 33 (3 from each class) were interviewed using cognitive walkthroughs of how they made use of the multimedia resources and system tools, scaffolds, or prompts to direct their own learning in each of the three self-regulated learning phases (forethought, performance, and reflection). Results revealed that the combined use of the discussion forum and statistics table seemed to facilitate the students’ diagnosis of their prior knowledge of natural phenomena in the forethought phase. In the performance phase, the students mostly enjoyed learning with the graphic data, animations, and/or simulation experiments. Some perceived the prompts or tools from the e-learning system as useful for operation and science learning. In the reflection phase, the students self-assessed their learning using quizzes with emoticons as positive feedback which seemed to increase their enthusiasm for learning science. However, not all students were able to effectively use the system tools or prompts, to keep focused self-discipline, or to achieve deeper science learning without the teacher’s guidance. Hence, this study suggests providing more opportunities for students’ exposure to e-learning resources, while at the same time assisting them in the use of digital tools or resources, in adjusting their learning strategies, and in internalizing scientific ideas and inquiry processes so as to ensure more effective self-regulated science learning.
... In its early stage, the e-Textbook was a supplementary multimedia learning resource, rather than as a stand-alone replacement of printed textbooks. This type of e-Textbook was developed with multimedia software or html, and delivered through a website or CD-ROMs (Dennis et al. 2012). For example, in the early stage of e-Textbook development in Korea, e-Textbooks were designed as supplementary materials for printed textbooks (Kim et al. 2010a). ...
... Although easy to produce, this type of e-Textbook is limited to the contents of printed textbooks, which lacked additional learning functionalities. Considering that this type of e-Textbook does not separate document content and style, functions like searching and linking, and interactivity and learning support are limited (Kim et al. 2010a; Dennis et al. 2012; ISO/IEC JTC1/SC36 WG6 2013a, b). As a result, projects that capitalized on these e-Textbook types were met with minimal success and even failure, including the MalayBook project in Malaysia that replaced paper textbooks with e-Textbooks without supported learning functions (Kim et al. 2010a; Lee et al. 2012). ...
... An intriguing finding suggested that participants who used e-Textbooks with annotations outperformed those using print textbooks. However, learners perceived e-Textbooks as worse in meeting their learning needs (Dennis et al. 2012). These findings indicated that participants do not immediately recognize the value of using e-Textbooks. ...
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In the last decade, the use of e-Textbooks has received attention in research and practice. However, the expanded use of e-Textbooks was not easily achieved because of the missing standards in learning content and functionalities, and barriers in utilizing e-Textbooks, such as screen reading and intellectual property protection. This paper provides insights on the design, development, and learning with e-Textbooks by reviewing studies, project reports, and cases on its use. Results reveal the increased promotion and implementation of e-Textbook development in several countries. Criticisms on different e-Textbook types began during the early stages of open multimedia learning resources and digitized textbooks, and continued until the integration of information and communication technologies, authoring tools, and learning platforms. The study examined advantages of e-Textbooks and different factors that influenced e-Textbook applications. The study also reviewed the literature on learning through e-Textbooks in terms of acceptance and perception of users, and the comparison of the learning effectiveness of this format with printed textbooks. Moreover, learning in e-Textbooks is not fully realized, and requires increased in-depth studies. This paper suggests investigating the pedagogical design of e-Textbooks and further evaluation of e-Textbook functions to support learning.
... Not until recently did researchers begin to focus on the usefulness of OER. For instance, Dennis, et al. [1] found that video presentations had significantly positive impacts on students' learning based on quiz scores. More recently, Liu [4,5] found OERs, such as YouTube video, technology slides, and Wikipedia pages, can help students better understand scientific readings. ...
... For learning to rank model generation, we employed 56 text-and graph-based ranking features 1 . For text ranking method, 1 The detailed feature list is available in the project website: we recommend OER based on the language model between the query text (in the paper) and OER content. For graph-based features, we created a heterogeneous graph, and the OER recommendation is conceptualized as a random walk problem on a heterogeneous graph. ...
Conference Paper
Although the content in scientific publications is increasingly challenging , it is necessary to investigate another important problem, that of scientific information understanding. For this proposed problem , we investigate novel methods to assist scholars (readers) to better understand scientific publications by enabling physical and virtual collaboration. For physical collaboration, an algorithm will group readers together based on their profiles and reading behavior , and will enable the cyberreading collaboration within a online reading group. For virtual collaboration, instead of pushing readers to communicate with others, we cluster readers based on their estimated information needs. For each cluster, a learning to rank model will be generated to recommend readers' communitized resources (i.e., videos, slides, and wikis) to help them understand the target publication.
... However, in recent studies of reading practices, researchers compared textbooks usage in both media and found contradictory learning results [1]. Some studies found that students earned significantly better scores with e-textbooks [11,12] while some other study results support students' higher performance using printed textbooks [13,14]. Little has been done to explain discrepancies from different experimental studies of e-textbook learning. ...
Conference Paper
Individual learning experiences have been changed with new technology development. Digital media has become a more favorable format in both reading and learning. This study investigated the reasons behind contradictory results in past e-textbook adoption studies and proposed that previous reading experiences associated with age were related to the effectiveness of e-textbook usage in learning. Results reveal a positive relationship between previous e-textbook reading experience and learning outcomes for current middle school students and older undergraduate students. Implications of changes in reading behaviors were discussed and future research was suggested.
... Researchers only recently began to focus on the usefulness of Open Educational Resources (OERs). For instance, Dennis, et al. [3] found that an additional video presentation had significant positive impacts on students' learning, and more recently, Liu [13,14] found ODRs, e.g., presentation videos/slides and Wikipedia pages, can help scholars better understand scientific readings. Meanwhile, more recent studies [8,15] found that text and graph mining methods can be used to automatically recommend high quality OER to help students understand the paper text content. ...
Conference Paper
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Although the scientific digital library is growing at a rapid pace, scholars/students often find reading Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) literature daunting, especially for the math-content/formula. In this paper, we propose a novel problem, "mathematics content understanding", for cyberlearning and cyberreading. To address this problem, we create a Formula Evolution Map (FEM) offline and implement a novel online learning/reading environment, PDF Reader with Math-Assistant (PRMA), which incorporates innovative math-scaffolding methods. The proposed algorithm/system can auto-characterize student emerging math-information need while reading a paper and enable students to readily explore the formula evolution trajectory in FEM. Based on a math-information need, PRMA utilizes innovative joint embedding, formula evolution mining, and heterogeneous graph mining algorithms to recommend high quality Open Educational Resources (OERs), e.g., video, Wikipedia page, or slides, to help students better understand the math-content in the paper. Evaluation and exit surveys show that the PRMA system and the proposed formula understanding algorithm can effectively assist master and PhD students better understand the complex math-content in the class readings.
... Comparing test scores of students using either a print text or e-text reveals interesting results: Dennis et al. (2015), for instance, found that while students scored significantly higher when using the e-text system, they perceived that the print text met their learning needs better than the e-text. In a more recent study, however, Dennis et al. (2016) found that students learning with e-text outperformed their paper text peers on some types of quizzes. ...
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This article presents the results of a systematic critical review of interdisciplinary literature concerned with digital text (or e-text) uses in education and proposes recommendations for how e-texts can be implemented for impactful learning. A variety of e-texts can be found in the repertoire of educational resources accessible to students, and in the constantly changing terrain of educational technologies, they are rapidly evolving, presenting new opportunities and affordances for student learning. We highlight some of the ways in which academic studies have examined e-texts as part of teaching and learning practices, placing a particular emphasis on aspects of learning such as recall, comprehension, retention of information and feedback. We also review diverse practices associated with uses of e-text tools such as note-taking, annotation, bookmarking, hypertexts and highlighting. We argue that evidence-based studies into e-texts are overwhelmingly structured around reinforcing the existing dichotomy pitting print-based ('traditional') texts against e-texts. In this article, we query this approach and instead propose to focus on factors such as students' level of awareness of their options in accessing learning materials and whether they are instructed and trained in how to take full advantage of the capabilities of e-texts, both of which have been found to affect learning performance.
... Not until recently did researchers begin to focus on the usefulness of OER. For instance, Dennis, et al. [4] found that an additional link to video presentation had significantly positive impacts on students' learning based on quiz scores. More recently, Liu [8,9] found OERs, like YouTube video, dataset, and Wikipedia page, can assist students better understand the scientific readings. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Scientific publication retrieval/recommendation has been investigated in the past decade. However, to the best of our knowledge, few efforts have been made to help junior scholars and graduate students to understand and consume the essence of those scientific readings. This paper proposes a novel learning/reading environment, OER-based Collaborative PDF Reader (OCPR), that incorporates innovative scaffolding methods that can: 1. autocharacterize student emerging information need while reading a paper; and 2. enable students to readily access open educational resources (OER) based on their information need. By using metasearch methods, we pre-indexed 1,112,718 OERs, including presentation videos, slides, algorithm source code, orWikipedia pages, for 41,378 STEM publications. Based on the computational information need, we use text mining and heterogeneous graph mining algorithms to recommend high quality OERs to help students better understand the scientific content in the paper. Evaluation results and exit surveys for an information retrieval course show that the OCPR system alone with the recommended OERs can effectively assist graduate students better understand the complex STEM publications. For instance, 78.42% of participants believe the OCPR system and recommended OERs can provide precise and useful information they need, while 78.43% of them believe the recommended OERs are close to exactly what they need when reading the paper. From OER ranking viewpoint, MRR, MAP and NDCG results prove that learning to rank and cold start solutions can efficiently integrate different text and graph ranking features.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of library instruction on the use of e-textbook features in a seventh-grade science class in Budapest, Hungary. Using the theory of value-expectancy, library instruction was designed to show students how the e-textbook features would improve their study habits. Design/methodology/approach Using a time-series, within-subject design, the researchers examined the students’ use of e-textbooks before receiving library instruction, and then again after receiving library instruction. Data were collected from student survey responses, focus group interviews, and digital library usage. A repeated-measures t -test was used to compare data collected prior to and following the instructional sessions. Findings The results indicate that the use of e-textbook features (glossary, audio, quizzes, notes, highlighter, and video) increased after library instruction. While the use of e-textbook features increased, this did not translate to other types of e-books: the use of the digital library did not increase. Research limitations/implications This paper has implications for research on the use of e-textbooks in academic settings. Baseline findings support the existing literature that shows that students do not use all of the features of an e-textbook. The research in this study adds that direct instruction on those features will increase use. Practical implications Librarians and teachers may want to consider direct instruction on e-textbooks. While it may not increase digital library usage, it may benefit the student learning experience. Originality/value This study builds on the work related to the student experience of using e-textbook. It highlights the value of library instruction in improving the student experience and use of e-textbooks.
Conference Paper
The aim of this study was to investigate the use of e-textbooks to promote problem-based learning for high school science students. The e-textbooks were developed and deployed in a metropolitan high school in Western Australia. Through a series of Design Based Research cycles, over three years, the design of the e-textbooks was refined to create more effective problem-based learning environments for students. The final e-textbooks allowed students to engage successfully in problem-based learning.
Electronic textbooks have been a subject of research for decades, yet student perceptions of interface components tend to be investigated in hindsight, and findings are not commonly taken into consideration for textbook design. This paper shifts the focus of electronic textbook design back toward students by identifying components that should be included in future electronic textbooks based on student perceptions in relation to the task of academic reading, as well as identifying associations with gender, experience level, academic level, and academic discipline. Findings from a university-wide online questionnaire that received more than 700 responses indicated that text, highlighting tools, bookmarks, multimedia, translation tools, dictionaries, and encyclopedias should all be incorporated in future electronic textbooks, as well as provided evidence to suggest that electronic textbooks should be tailored based on academic discipline. Understanding what students require for academic reading can facilitate the development of more suitable educational tools, and through the identification of suitable components, can enable the design of more standardized electronic textbooks.
The interdisciplinary field of the learning sciences encompasses educational psychology, cognitive science, computer science, and anthropology, among other disciplines. The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, first published in 2006, is the definitive introduction to this innovative approach to teaching, learning, and educational technology. In this dramatically revised second edition, leading scholars incorporate the latest research to provide practical advice on a wide range of issues. The authors address the best ways to write textbooks, design educational software, prepare effective teachers, organize classrooms, and use the Internet to enhance student learning. They illustrate the importance of creating productive learning environments both inside and outside school, including after school clubs, libraries, and museums. Accessible and engaging, the Handbook has proven to be an essential resource for graduate students, researchers, teachers, administrators, consultants, software designers, and policy makers on a global scale.
The learning sciences is an interdisciplinary field that studies teaching and learning. Learning scientists study a variety of settings, including not only the formal learning of school classrooms, but also the informal learning that takes place at home, on the job, and among peers. The goal of the learning sciences is to better understand the cognitive and social processes that result in the most effective learning and to use this knowledge to redesign classrooms and other learning environments so that people learn more deeply and more effectively. The sciences of learning include cognitive science, educational psychology, computer science, anthropology, sociology, information sciences, neurosciences, education, design studies, instructional design, and other fields. In the late 1980s, researchers in these fields who were studying learning realized that they needed to develop new scientific approaches that went beyond what their own disciplines could offer and to collaborate with other disciplines. The field of learning sciences was born in 1991, when the first international conference was held and the Journal of the Learning Sciences was first published. By the 20th century, all major industrialized countries offered formal schooling to all of their children. When these schools took shape during the 19th and 20th centuries, scientists didn’t know very much about how people learn. Even by the 1920s, when schools began to grow into the large bureaucratic institutions that we know today, there was still no sustained study of how people learn. As a result, the schools we have today were designed around commonsense assumptions that had never been tested scientifically: Knowledge is a collection of facts about the world and procedures for how to solve problems. Facts are statements like “the earth is tilted on its axis by 23.45 degrees” and procedures are step-by-step instructions like instructions on how to do multi-digit addition by carrying to the next column. The goal of schooling is to get these facts and procedures into students’ heads. People are considered educated when they possess a large collection of these facts and procedures. Teachers know these facts and procedures, and their job is to transmit them to students.
Science Learning and Instruction describes advances in understanding the nature of science learning and their implications for the design of science instruction. The authors show how design patterns, design principles, and professional development opportunities coalesce to create and sustain effective instruction in each primary scientific domain: earth science, life science, and physical science. Calling for more in depth and less fleeting coverage of science topics in order to accomplish knowledge integration, the book highlights the importance of designing the instructional materials, the examples that are introduced in each scientific domain, and the professional development that accompanies these materials. It argues that unless all these efforts are made simultaneously, educators cannot hope to improve science learning outcomes. The book also addresses how many policies, including curriculum, standards, guidelines, and standardized tests, work against the goal of integrative understanding, and discusses opportunities to rethink science education policies based on research findings from instruction that emphasizes such understanding.
Evidence for the present study derives from a sample of 574 middle-grades students that participated in the River City Project (RCP) in academic year 2006-07. Central to the RCP is an open-ended video-game-like learning innovation for teaching inquiry-based science and twenty-first century skills. Results of investigation into the students' neomillennial learning styles revealed that, on average, students who (1) prefer creating and sharing artifacts through the Internet are well-suited for learning about disease transmission and scientific problem solving skills in the RCP; and (2) students who feel highly connected with the media, tools, and people they use for communication, expression, and problem solving in the RCP are more likely to believe they are able to complete activities common to practicing scientists. However, students who avoid the same activities and/or do not share the same predilections may not do as well in RCP.