Dr. Rebekah Wanic
Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement
Research has demonstrated the potential for increased distraction and decreased comprehension for material presented digitally (Gerow et al., 2010). Given the continued shift toward digital content and increase in online-only learning, examining ways to improve comprehension are important. Prior work has shown that visual aids can improve comprehension of material for learners, and thus may be a valuable tool to redress digital comprehension deficits (Bransford & Johnson, 1972; Majidi & Aydinlu, 2016). The present study examined the effect of visual aids in online reading comprehension. A between-subject experimental survey (N = 60) evaluated memory and comprehension in undergraduate students in one of three conditions: an image related to the text, one unrelated to the text or no image. It was hypothesized that the related image group would perform the best, followed by control and then distracting image groups. Contrary to expectation, the related image group performed the worst. The results are discussed in light of the study’s limitations and suggestions for future research are outlined.