Effects of e-textbook instructor annotations on learner performance

Alan R. Dennis, Serdar Abaci*, Anastasia S. Morrone, Joshua Plaskoff, Kelly O. McNamara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With additional features and increasing cost advantages, e-textbooks are becoming a viable alternative to paper textbooks. One important feature offered by enhanced e-textbooks (e-textbooks with interactive functionality) is the ability for instructors to annotate passages with additional insights. This paper describes a pilot study that examines the effects of instructor e-textbook annotations on student learning as measured by multiple-choice and open-ended test items. Fifty-two college students in a business course were randomly assigned either a paper or an electronic version of a textbook chapter. Results show that the e-textbook group outperformed the paper textbook group on the open-ended test item, while both groups performed equally on the multiple-choice subject test. These results suggest that the instructional affordances that an interactive e-textbook provides may lead to higher-level learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-235
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Computing in Higher Education
Issue number2
Early online date11 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • e-textbook
  • experimental study
  • instructor annotations
  • learning
  • print textbook
  • reading comprehension

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