Critical Reader Evaluation

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Critical Reader, an authoring tool developed in Learning Solutions, allows instructors to make text interactive by embedding it with a variety of features including highlighted text, hyperlinks, rollover word definitions, videos, and personal commentary.  In order to evaluate the effectiveness of this tool in increasing reading comprehension of difficult texts, a study was conducted with 4 French courses in Spring 2010. A within-subjects, alternating treatment design was used to compare reading comprehension between Critical Reader readings and paper-based readings.  In addition, a student perception survey was administered at the end of the semester to gather students' perceptions of which reading format was most effective in helping them understand complex texts and motivating them to learn course material.  Results of the study showed student comprehension was significantly greater with the Critical Reader readings than with the paper-based readings.  Further, most students agreed the Critical Reader motivated them to learn the material and helped them read difficult text more critically than the paper-based readings.