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"Students, even when they appear to be digitally literate, often lack the necessary skills to manage online content. Rather, they use different strategies and practices when reading e-texts instead of print-based texts." (Ross, Pechenkina, Aeschliman, & Chase, 2017)
Our ability to recall factual details is often better with digital text, but our higher order and abstract thinking can be negatively impacted. (Kaufman & Flanagan, 2016).
Shallow reading is often observed due to the shifting colors, screens and movements online. (Konnikova, 2014).
It takes more attention to read online because of our subconscious response to the unending amount of information there is online. (Korbey, 2018)
The pinball eye movement pattern and the F pattern, more common now than 20 year ago, is deterimental to comprehension of digital text. Teaching students commitment gazing patterns increases comprehension. (Palani et al, 2020)
"Schools cannot assume these processes (print and digital reading processes) and their comprehension are the same. Students need to be supported in both. This emphasis on digital reading of longer texts versus digital reading games or other learning environments with short texts can serve as an important guiding principle helping educators design learning experiences that prepare students for the different challenges between digital and paper reading." (Goodwin, 2020)
Cognitive Load Hints
Eye fatigue occurs at about 20 minutes. Employ active reading and reflection strategies frequently and include the use of off screen reflection.
Increase negative space on your designed content - white space isn't always considered negative.
Be consistent - think of designing your digital instruction as your "Brand." Use no more than 2 fonts and 3 colors on designed digital instruction.
Chunk information as you present it.
Employ concepts of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) with brain based strategies. See the attached graphic and the center column.