Active Reading on Tablet Textbooks

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  • Title: Active Reading on Tablet Textbooks: Comparative Assessment of Two Systems
  • Author(s): Jennifer A. George-Palilonis
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Books, Publishing & Libraries
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Book
  • Keywords: Tablet Textbooks, Active Reading, Interactive Multimedia Educational User Experience, Interactive Annotation
  • Volume: 15
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 1447-9516 (Print)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: George-Palilonis, Jennifer A.. 2017. "Active Reading on Tablet Textbooks: Comparative Assessment of Two Systems." The International Journal of the Book 15 (2): 13-28. doi:10.18848/1447-9516/CGP/v15i02/13-28.
  • Extent: 16 pages


Tablet textbooks have combined the physical affordances of traditional books with video, audio, interactive graphics, and more. However, existing tablet textbook designs do not sufficiently support learners’ active reading needs and goals when multimedia content is integrated. Specifically, learners often struggle to make sense of and remember content delivered in multimedia formats, are distracted by the mechanics of interactive content, and grapple with transient audiovisuals. This article explores the nature of active reading in the tablet environment through a study that empirically evaluates SMART Note—novel digital active reading support tools—against active reading tools currently on the market. SMART Note outperformed existing tools on learning experience, process, and outcomes by mitigating distractions caused by complex interaction patterns, offering visual references to collections of annotations, and providing improved tools for annotating and studying audiovisuals. This article can inform future design of tablet textbooks and tools to support digital active reading.