Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Skimming and reading online material

The latest issue of the educational journal JLDHE includes an article by Wilkinson based on her doctoral work, which was an observational study tracking eye movement as students looked at online material. She found that students were evaluating sources at the same time as using them (i.e. they weren't comparing sources and then going back to extract the information). She draws on research about "information foraging" (though not really much on other information behaviour research). Other articles in this issue of JLDHE include ones on notetaking and on e-portfolios.
Wilkinson, S. (2010) "Maximising student learning through minimising information search time; the role of satisficing and skimming." Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education (2)
"With the increase in the use of the internet for educational purposes, the problem is no longer how to find and access information on-line, but how to select the most appropriate sources of information. What strategies do students adopt in order to allocate time adaptively to the information they need to learn? How and when do they make decision judgements, and how can this enable educators to facilitate student learning? If we understand how students search and retrieve information from texts, then we can design our texts to facilitate this process and ultimately enhance learning through minimising the time it takes for students to search for information within a text, and maximise the time they have for learning that information. This paper will present a new and innovative model of adaptive allocation of time across on-line texts, based on the principles of satisficing and skimming. It will discuss how knowledge about students’ information search and retrieval processes can aid educational text designers in designing texts that will enhance student learning."
Whole issue is at
Photo by Sheila Webber: Pegs on the line, rainy day, March 2010

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