Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Difficult to Read Text Leads to Better Retention

Some blog followers may be interested in a post "Re: More

Difficult to Read Text Leads to Better Retention" [Hake (2010)].

The abstract reads:


ABSTRACT: PhysLrnR's Bill Goffe alerted subscribers to

an Economist report on an article

"Fortune Favors the Bold (and the Italicized): Effects of

Disfluency on Educational Outcomes" (Oppenheimer et al.

(2010, ).

In research conducted both in the lab and in chemistry,

physics, English, and history classrooms, Oppenheimer

et al. found that information made "disfluent" with

difficult-to-read fonts (12-point Comic Sans MS 75%

greyscale and 12-point Bodoni MT 75% greyscale) enhanced

"learning" over more fluent information in easy-to-read

16-point Arial pure-black font.

But classroom "learning" was measured by "normal

assessment tests" which usually gauge only lower-level

learning such as rote-memorization, recipe following,

and algorithmicproblem-solving.

One might wonder, for example, if, after textbook coverage

of Newtonian mechanics, there would be an increase of

posttestscores on the conceptually oriented "Force Concept

Inventory" (FCI) [Halloun & Hestenes (1992)] for text material

with more:

(a) difficult-to-read fonts,

(b) "Fog" as measured by the "Gunning Fog Index", or

(c) structural complexity [as studied by e.g., McNamara,

Kintsch, Songer, & Kintsch (1996) in "Are good texts always

better? Text coherence, background knowledge,and levels of

understanding in learning from text."]


To access the complete 20 kB post please click on>

"Easy reading is damned hard writing."

- Nathaniel Hawthorne

"The single biggest problem in communication is

the illusion that it has taken place."

- George Bernard Shaw


Hake, R.R. 2010. "Re: More Difficult to Read Text Leads to Better

Retention." online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 27 Oct 2010 17:14:33-0700 to

AERA-L, Net-Gold, and PhysLrnR. The abstract and link to the

complete post are being transmitted to various discussion lists.

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