The use of digital environments for both learning and assessment is becoming prevalent. This often leads to incongruent situations, in which the study medium (eg, printed textbook) is different from the testing medium (eg, online multiple-choice exams). Despite some evidence that incongruent study-test situations are associated with inferior achievements, the effect of study-test congruency has not been investigated systematically. Here, we examine this question in the context of digitally displayed versus printed text comprehension using a full-factorial experimental design. One hundred and twelve university students participated in the study. They studied an expository text in one medium (print or digital) and then, comprehension was assessed in either the same (congruent) or the different (incongruent) medium. No significant differences in performance were found between the congruent and incongruent study-test conditions. However, consistent with findings reported in the literature, comprehension of the digital text was inferior to that of the printed text. Results show that this screen inferiority occurred irrespective of the testing medium. These findings suggest that studying in one medium and taking the test in another does not affect comprehension, but the medium in which one studies does influence test outcomes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a grant to the authors from the Open University of Israel's research fund. The authors thank Iris Fait for her dedicated assistance in data collection.
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