Comprehension and navigation of networked hypertexts

Research paper by Helen Blom, Eliane Segers, Harry Knoors, Daan Hermans, Ludo Verhoeven

Indexed on: 30 Jan '18Published on: 29 Jan '18Published in: Journal of Computer Assisted Learning


This study aims to investigate secondary school students' reading comprehension and navigation of networked hypertexts with and without a graphic overview compared to linear digital texts. Additionally, it was studied whether prior knowledge, vocabulary, verbal, and visual working memory moderated the relation between text design and comprehension. Therefore, 80 first-year secondary school students read both a linear text and a networked hypertext with and without a graphical overview. Logfiles registered their navigation. After reading the text, students answered textbased multiple choice questions and drew mindmaps to assess their structural knowledge of each text content. It was found that both textbased and structural knowledge were lower after reading a networked hypertext than a linear text, especially in students with lower levels of vocabulary. Students took generally more time to read the hypertext than the linear text. We concluded that networked hypertexts are more challenging to read than linear texts and that students may benefit from explicit training on how to read hypertexts.