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Print vs. Digital for studying?

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As technology advances, the role of print in our professional and leisure lives seems to become more uncertain. There is, however, growing evidence that print is far from obsolete, as researchers and consumers discover the benefits of print over digital.

Yes, we all dive in and jump from platform to platform, hungrily engaging with content that varies from social gossip, mindless distractions, entertainment news to international politics and global warming. But mostly, these are all shallow dives; skimming from one trending topic to the next.

This is called Digital snacking. And it has a place in all our lives. A quick topic-hop with random clicks hurried through at work or on public transport. Yes, we all do it.

But new research has found that people still prefer the hard edges of print when they want to dive deeper into special-interest content, or just chill out in their “me-bubble” with a good book or their favourite magazine.

Here are some other interesting, and surprising, statistics from Global Marketing Group, Hubspot

  • 91% of people say digital ads are more intrusive today than two years ago.
  • 81% of consumers have closed a browser or exited a webpage because of a pop-up ad.
  • 70% of people say they dislike mobile ads.

But perhaps, even more surprisingly:

  • students who read texts in print scored significantly better on the reading comprehension test than students who read the texts digitally. International Journal of Educational Research.
  • physical material is more ‘real’ to the brain. It is better connected to memory, emotional processing and brain response than digital. Millward Brown/Bangor University study

A recent study published in the leading Journal Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience found that students using written notes out-performed those using digital devices when tested for memory recall.

“Paper is more advanced and useful than electronic documents because paper contains more one-of-a-kind information for stronger memory recall,” said an author of the paper.

The study also concluded that individuals using print had higher levels of brain activity in areas associated with language, image visualisation and areas linked with memory.

But, perhaps Forbes Magazine sums up a more practical way of looking at it: “Despite the enormous migration to electronic media, neuroscience research shows that paper-based content and ads offer special advantages in connecting with our brains. Rather than an all-digital world, it appears that a multi-channel approach that leverages the unique benefits of paper with the convenience and accessibility of digital will perform best.”

The Editor, Career Planet



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