Reading and Studying on the Screen: An Overview of Literature Towards Good Learning Design Practice


  • Mark Nichols The UK Open University


cognitive load, learning design, online-only, on screen, print


As distance education moves increasingly towards online provision, and because of the benefits provided by online approaches, students will be expected to engage with more resources available on screen. Contemporary forms of reading from the screen include reading from tablet devices, LCD monitors, and smartphones. However, print remains the preferred means of reading text, and student preference for print is accentuated when reading involves thorough study (Ackerman & Lauterman, 2012; Foasberg, 2014). Education providers face an interesting challenge. Although many learners prefer having access to printed materials, on-screen reading can improve education’s convenience, portability, media-richness, engagement, support, and data-evidenced practice. In this context it is timely to consider the potential for on-screen reading from the perspective of learning design. This article considers studies related to reading on screen, and suggests good practice principles for on-screen-only learning design.

Author Biography

Mark Nichols, The UK Open University

At the time of writing this article Dr Mark Nichols was Executive Director of Education Design Services at Open Polytechnic. In February 2016 he began work as Director, Technology Enhanced Learning with The Open University, United Kingdom.






Articles - Literature reviews