Learning from printed book or its electronic version?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by hajime, Oct 8, 2017.

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Do you prefer to learn from printed or its electronic version?

  1. Printed version

    10 vote(s)
    66.7%
  2. Electronic version (pdf or ebook)

    5 vote(s)
    33.3%
  1. hajime macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #1
    When learning a new subject, do you prefer to learn from a real book or its electronic version? Why?
     
  2. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    The Anthropocene
  3. LizKat, Oct 8, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017

    LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #3
    Me too. Because I can flip back and forth and skip around, which I may need to do more of in order to learn unfamiliar material. It's just so much easier to do that with a printed book.

    But past that, with material that I already know more about, I tend to prefer ebooks as I get older because I can adjust the font size, background tint, brightness etc. to help out my aging eyes. Most fiction I now prefer to read in ebook format.
     
  4. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere

    Scepticalscribe

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    The Far Horizon
    #4
    Personally, I far prefer reading from a printed source, especially if it is something that I wish to bury myself in, or think closely about.

    The actual act of reading seems too occur differently online and with print - you devote more attention to the printed page. However, I will agree with @LizKat: I am more indulgent with reading fiction online, although I still prefer even that as a hard copy; my brother has been trying to persuade me of the joys of a Kindle, but I confess that I am far from converted.

    Also, as a former editor, I must say that I always found it far easier to spot errors on a hard copy than electronically where error escape my scrutiny - which is why, even now, I will insist on printing out most important documents.
     
  5. 960design macrumors 68030

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    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
    #5
    Last couple of years, I've moved completely from paper to digital. I prefer to import a pdf into iBooks. You can quickly scan backwards and forwards, change the brightness, search. Basically, in every way ( in my mind ) it is better. I've recently taken to scanning physical copies of books I've had sitting on the shelf and loading them up on the IPP10.5. It's easy to read a chapter when you have a few minutes. Easy to refer back to something. Easy to carry 10+ books.

    Side benefit, I can read at night, right before going to bed, without a night light.

    P.S. IMHO iBooks has the best reading experience.
     
  6. yaxomoxay macrumors 68040

    yaxomoxay

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #6
    Both. Most depends on the subject and structure of the books. It also depends on the depth I want to learn the subject.
    I am reading two books on constitutional law and they’re both on paper. I am also reading one book on sociology and one on criminal justice, they’re digital.
     
  7. hajime thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #7
    Why? What so special about iBooks compared with other pdf reader/annotator?
     
  8. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    #8
    I've also switched completely to digital. I can annotate and highlight, something I hated doing TO a physical paper book. I always felt like I was defacing a book.
     
  9. hajime thread starter macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #9
    These days we can download lots of books freely easily. It is good for the wallet but bad for learning. If we download the pdf of books and print them out using color laser printer, it might cost more than buying the books from Amazon (usually I don't buy second hands partly due to OCD). So, after all these years, I still have to pay thousand of dollars on books?

    My former home was like a library. I had more books on STEM than some local libraries.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 9, 2017 ---
    Few years ago, I annotated lots of notes on my Galaxy Note PRO 12.2. Problem with the device and I lost everything.

    I guess if it is for serious learning, we go for printed version. For reference, we go for electronic version. Am I right?
     
  10. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    #10
    Not necessarily. There's not a big difference, is there?
     
  11. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    Aug 19, 2008
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    The Anthropocene
    #11
    I actually find that a physical book aids in my recall of facts and figures. Often I'll recall something with reference to the page it was on---not necessarily by the page number but by what I remember being laid out on that and surrounding pages. However, I find that information I read on electronic documents doesn't integrate in the same way for me.

    Learning seems to be a very physical experience for me. This is also why I don't take electronic notes.
     
  12. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Location:
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    #12
    Electronic. My moleman eyes can't compare to y'all regular folks. I want LARGE text.
     
  13. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #13
    IIRC, Scientific American had an article that indicated that physical books were better than electronic for learning. Likewise, it is better to take handwritten notes than type them into a laptop.

    I think there are pros and cons to both formats. For example as LizKat mentioned there are navigation methods available in a book, like flipping through pages, that aren't really replicated in an eBook.

    However in an eBook you can do a keyword search to quickly find every instance of a word or phrase, a feat which cannot be replicated in a book. Some eBooks also contain additional embedded content that the physical book will not or cannot have, such as author's notes and multimedia.
     
  14. 960design macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
    #14
    iBooks allows quick navigation by tapping and dragging across thumbnails at the bottom of the screen. The pinch/zoom seems smoothest. The automatic night color shift is not harsh on the eyes in a dark room. The split screen. iBooks stays out of the way while reading. Highlighting and Markup is quick and easy.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 9, 2017 ---
    They used subjects that had grown up learning from a book. Not really a fair assessment. I would argue that I now learn better with digital vs printed.
     
  15. JohnGrey macrumors 6502

    JohnGrey

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2012
    Location:
    Cincinnati Metro
    #15
    I much prefer printed texts. Only problem is that uni and professional texts are so expensive and the build quality is horrendous. I think one of out the last fifteen texts I've purchased had a Smyth sewn binding and it was a used one that was printed in the late eighties.
     
  16. Volusia macrumors 6502

    Volusia

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Location:
    Central Florida
    #16
    While I prefer printed information, I believe it is do more to my experiences and past learning habits. When I was learning and teaching the printed material is what was available. For my Grandson, the opposite is true. He has just entered 4th grade. From this point on in his public education he will be provided with an electronic device (currently an iPad) which will contain his books, assignments and email instructions from his teachers.
     
  17. ActionableMango macrumors G3

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #17
    I believe that you personally learn better with digital vs printed. I'm sure many others do as well. Everyone is different.

    However, to your first point, I seem to remember in the article that I read that children were included in the study.

    In any case, one of the biggest problems with digital media learning is that the student is distracted and spends about 40% of "study time" on applications not related to school work. I don't understand how people growing up with digital media are going to be immune to this. In a textbook you don't get popup notifications and you can't ALT-TAB to Minesweeper and Facebook.

    As for note taking, the study found that people using laptops are able to write much more quickly and so tended to write what the professor said almost verbatim. Having accurate/verbatim notes sounds great at first glance, but in reality it allows people to revert to simple transcribing, which is mentally easy. Pencil and paper note-takers are much slower and thus are forced to write notes using some form of abbreviation. That means there is a cognitive step requiring understanding of the material in order to translate it into a shorter form that will be meaningful later. This extra cognitive step helps reinforce the material.

    I don't see how people growing up with laptops are going to be immune to losing out from that missing extra cognitive step. If anything, growing up able to naturally type will make it even easier to mentally "check out" while transcribing.
     
  18. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #18
    e-book that's for sure.... but i do miss the printed stuff

    Not everything is in digital form, and some of it may never be... Plus, if you already have the book, buying it again just because its technology doesn't make sense. (except when printed version will degrade, fall apart etc..)
     
  19. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #19
    For reference-type material, I definitely prefer print when learning, as you can easily flip between pages, keep a finger or bookmark in there to mark your place, add sticky notes/flags, etc. Once I already know most of my way around a topic and just want to look up a couple of minor things then electronic is often easier, especially when set up correctly with clickable links everywhere.
     
  20. kazmac macrumors 604

    kazmac

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Location:
    On the silver scream
    #20
    Printed. My screen real estate isn't enough for learning Windows Word and Excel 2016, so it's helpful to be able to crack open my office for dummies book and still work comfortably.

    As long as books, etc. are printed that will be my preferred way to read, especially if I have to learn something.
     

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19 October 8, 2017