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Oct 12 2014 - 08:00 PM
How Do You Take Your News?
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Because college students are a prime audience for learning applications as well as for the full range of online media, developers of educational and other online products have a keen interest in how college students process information online. A recent study at a U.S. university sheds light on the reading and writing habits of this important demographic group.

The 114 students in the study were assembled in a campus computer lab and asked to: engage in media consumption by reading a news article and answering some questions; engage in media creation by writing an essay about a typical school day; and complete a survey on their use of the internet for media consumption.

Students found articles they enjoyed more to be more credible and, more importantly for learning, articles perceived to be more enjoyable and credible were associated with greater retention of information and efforts to seek additional information. There was also an impact on student media creation as students who consumed more online media produced longer and more positive essays while those who consumed less produced more negative essays with errors.

The correlations between student online news media consumption and responses to online information, if confirmed through additional research, carry some useful implications for those seeking to reach the college student audience. It may not be enough for an educational article to simply list facts; in order to maximize learning, readings may need to be enjoyable to be credible and ultimately leave a learner wanting to know more.

Zhong, B., & Appelman, A. J. (2014). How college students read and write on the web: The role of ICT use in processing online information. Computers in Human Behavior, 38, 201-207.

Image: By Karl Frankowski Flickr

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|By: Dana Haugh|684 Reads