How hypertext fosters children's knowledge acquisition: The roles of text structure and graphical overview
SourceComputers in Human Behavior, 29, 5, (2013), pp. 2047-2057
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
Computers in Human Behavior
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
Children in primary and secondary school are asked to go on the Internet for school purposes while research on hypertext has scarcely investigated how children process and learn from hypertext. We therefore examined how hypertext influences children’s knowledge acquisition from expository text. A group of 71 Dutch children (13 years old) from one secondary school for pre-university education participated in the study. In a within-subjects design with four conditions, we compared: regular linear text, regular text with overview, hypertext, and hypertext with overview. Children’s (a) navigation (i.e., reading time and navigation pattern) and (b) learning (i.e., multiple choice knowledge questions and mind maps) was measured. Although reading times did not differ, the children navigated less linearly in both hypertext conditions than in the regular text with overview condition. The four types of text led to the same deep understanding as measured on the text base level. Analyses of the mind maps, however, showed the children to construct richer situation models after reading hypertext or hypertext with an overview relative to regular linear text and regular text with overview. We therefore conclude that hypertext fosters a deeper level of information processing when appropriately designed relative to regular linear text.
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