Effect of learning when reading from a computer or tablet rather than paper and books

What is the effect of learning when students do most of their work reading from a computer or tablet rather than paper and books?

    Learning is a continuous process which occurs throughout the life of an individual with particular emphasis on the student period.  The impact of learning is not only the development of cognitive skills in students but also life skills.   The source which is used for imparting education to students. This plays a major role in determining the quality of information gathered.  The most common source used by students as well as teachers in the past have been booked; with the advent of technology, new sources of acquiring information has gained prominence, some of which are through the use of computers and tablets utilising the Internet.

    This is further accentuated by the study which claims that 58% of American adults have a smartphone, 32% own an e-reader, and 42% own a tablet (Pew Research Study, 2014), needless to mention the presence of computers in each and every household.

    In the present scenario, most of the schools have implemented computer model teaching methods and smart board sessions for students, who are also expected to follow suit during self-learning at home.  However, an analysis of the merits and demerits of using technology to further education helps in overcoming any flaws in the process and would bring about better outputs from the students.

Merits of using computers and tablets for learning

    Considering from the point of user-friendly approach, the new technology would score better in the terms of ease of use, latest information and multiple-usage.

1.    Essential tool for learning

The usage of visual technology, especially in the form of videos and live pictures enhances the capacity of the students to grasp information while learning a particular topic.  Also, they are updated with current knowledge which cannot be done by reading even the latest reference books as the edition would be just updated and not the latest. 

2.    Enhances learning capabilities

Students have a tendency to adopt the easy to operate and learn method rather than refer to scores of textbooks.  Learning from a computer or tablet enables the student to use the same tool for various subjects as well as facilitates quick reference to current trends in their respective fields of study.  This is, in turn, has a direct effect on implementing regular learning habits which are supported by Kurzweil (2015) who points out that technology assists them in reinforcing and expanding on content.

3.    Modifies pace of learning

As the pace of learning differs from one student to another, the use of technology in the form of computers or tablets for the tools of learning. It would encourage students with varied learning abilities to hone their skills and bring out their capacity in a phased manner by referring to e-book materials according to their ability to grasp, unlike when they are forced to learn only a certain aspect from textbooks or narrowed down contents from papers.

4.    Motivating students to take up careers

As student comes across varied information by learning through the usage of Internet, their interests towards taking up jobs in preferable fields build up better prospects and serves as guidance to their career choice.  It serves to motivate other students to imbibe required skills through the betterment of learning capabilities. 

5.    Connectivity between students and teachers

It is one of the vital concepts in learning.   Even outside the classroom, through the use of computers and tablets students could establish better contact with teachers which has a positive impact on learning.  Teachers could also monitor the students through online sessions and distribution of e-content makes the task of learning easier than with the usage of textbooks.

6.    Portable technology

The use of tablets has simplified the mode of carrying information.  Students need not struggle with loads of books and other materials.  Instead, the portability of devices such as tablets has reduced the burden of students as they could manage with a single device for all forms of reference and could carry it wherever they preferred.

    Wherever there is the potential for success, there lies the risk of failure.  The use of technology in learning does not go without its imminent demerits.

Demerits of using computers and tablets for learning

1.    Distractions while learning

It is one of the threats inadvertently experienced by students.  They are tempted not only to deviate from the topic meant for learning but are also potentially distracted by the use of social media and other entertainment concepts which are widely proliferating the Internet, thus breaching the very purpose for which they are introduced to technological tools.  Gross (2014) garners evidence in support of this point with a study wherein teachers and professors felt the necessity to ban laptops and other devices from their students. 

2.    Lack of originality

Students become victims of borrowed thoughts by referring all their study material from the Internet with less original ideas while books, though would bring about the authors' point of view, call for a better presentation from the students' side with more exercises and worksheets which would enhance students' imagination and creativity.

At the outset, it is wiser to overcome the demerits, which are trivial, with better vision and usage of computers and tablets, which are conquering the world of learning. 

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