• Hypermedia as an educational technology: a review of the empirical literature on learner comprehension, control and style

      Dillon, Andrew; Gabbard, Ralph; Smith, P.; Pellegrinni, A. (London: Routledge, 2000)
      Please use the following citation when referencing this material: Dillon and Gabbard (1998) Hypermedia as an educational technology: a review of the empirical literature on learner comprehension, control and style. Review of Educational Research, 68(3), 322, 349. Reprinted in P. Smith and A. Pellegrinni (eds.) (2000) The Psychology of Education: Major Themes, London: Routledge, 3, 496-531. Abstract: By virtue of its enabling rapid, non-linear access to multiple forms of information, hypermedia technology is considered a major advance in the development of educational tools to enhance learning and a massive literature on the use of hypermedia in education has emerged. The present review examines the published findings from experimental studies of hypermedia which emphasized quantitative, empirical methods to assess learning outcomes. Specifically, the review categorizes this research into three themes: studies of learner comprehension compared across hypermedia and other media; effects on learning outcome offered by increased learner control in hypermedia environments, and the individual differences that exist in learner response to hypermedia. The review concludes that to date, the benefits of hypermedia in education are limited to learning tasks reliant on repeated manipulation and searching of information, and are differentially distributed across learners depending on their ability and preferred learning style. Methodological and analytical shortcomings in this literature limit the generalizability of all findings in this domain. Suggestions for addressing these problems in future research and theory development are outlined.