Hardcopy reading vs. digital reading
More and more learning activity occurs in front of the computer instead of studying printed books. This is normal, considering the evolution of contemporary society.
I remember that in 2007, I discussed its theoretical part with one of my coordinating teachers for my bachelor’s degree. At one point, the teacher said: “to start your study, go to the library first …” I interrupted him while gazing at him: “Library? You mean that place with books … in HARD COPY‽‽‽”.
(keep reading ↓)
After all, I did not go to the library to borrow the approx. 30 books I needed. I bought most of them from an antique shop :)
At one point, I also became a virtual student of a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) in Coursera, where I studied 100% virtual materials alongside thousands of students from over 100 countries worldwide. And I noticed, on that occasion, once again, what I had found out as a student in the beginning of the century, when I started to apply efficient learning: the speed of reading on any digital medium is at least twice as low as the speed of reading on printed media.
In recent years, we have seen how the design and technology behind the content available in electronic format have transformed our frameworks for the assimilation of information. For example, 20 years ago, the experience of reading a text online was not much different from reading a text in the newspaper. Nowadays, websites (even educational ones) look like Christmas trees. And they have to look like this because otherwise, they are too “simple”.
The hyperlink culture dictates a new way of assimilating content. If you do not know what the author is referring to in a sentence, no problem: there is a link where you find the explanation. And if you do not understand what that link says either, there are plenty of links to help you everywhere. Before you know it, you have opened 10 windows, and 15 minutes have passed. You even forgot where you started. Has this ever happened to you?
It’s not anyone’s fault. It’s just the way things are. This is the direction. The information found in the text, occupies less and less space in the field of vision. The rest forms. Frames. Links. Buttons. Spaces. Ads. What do you do? However, reading is the main form through which humans assimilate most of the information (75-80%) at least before the AI era
. 7 practical tips to increase your reading speed online.
Use the Ctrl + and Ctrl – key combinations to adjust the text size of a webpage. Some websites have a larger font, while others have a smaller font. Stop moving your eyes from right to left, and start moving them from up to bottom in the text, especially when the text can be framed in small columns. Resize the window to focus it only on the content of the text, so you will not be distracted by the other bells and whistles that appear on the webpage. Try it now with this webpage!
Adjusts the brightness of the monitor. If you use a laptop, you are likely to find a key combination (for example,, the Fn key and one of the F1-F12 keys). If you use an LCD monitor, there are simple buttons that either set the monitor to “text”, “movie”, “picture”, etc., or allow you to finely tune the color temperature, brightness, and contrast from the menu. Look at your keyboard. Try now!
Save the .pdf documents to your computer and view them with Acrobat Reader, using the Ctrl + L key combination for Fullscreen – thus, your screen will look a lot like a book.
If you insist on reading while scrolling down, do not spread your look on the text, but keep it focused on the text at a certain level. Try now!
Do not listen to music with lyrics while reading something (is that what you were doing now?). If you want to listen to music while you are learning, listen to instrumental, orchestral, symphonic, or electronic music. That way, your brain will focus on the words in the text you read, not on the lyrics of the song.
Probably, since you started reading this article, something has distracted you, hasn’t it? If you are in the habit of working with many windows and programs open, right-click on the wonder-options in the time button in Windows. They are called “Tile Windows Horizontally/Vertically” and “Show the Desktop”. Resize the windows. Consider using a secondary screen – an option especially valid with laptops, when you can connect another monitor or video projector.
Is this article too long for you and would you like to read it later? Use an online bookmarking system that allows you to bookmark web pages for later reading (the “read later” option). I recommend Diigo.com – installed as a toolbar in the browser; it offers the most powerful social bookmarking tool. You should also learn how to use categories (folders) and marks (tags) to categorize the content you have studied. If you use such resources intelligently, you will transform your browser into a virtual library and increase your assimilation speed by extracting the main keywords from a text as soon as you read it.
Of course, each of these habits contributes to the improvement of your learning, and their combined use will have an amplified effect of increasing your reading speed. These are no technical details. These are simple tips, which if you learn early on and get used to them, you will save time and you will know more, faster.
However, if you want to achieve a factorial improvement of your learning performance, I recommend you to make one of the most valuable personal development investments, which, with 15 minutes of practice a day, can double (triple and so on) your reading speed, both on paper and online. This is the invention awarded gold at the Geneva International Invention Salon, improved as a product now available in Romania only through InfoSpeed: the speed-reading device. Try now!
Happy efficient learning!
Efficient learning consultant and trainer (speed reading, memorization, concentration, productivity, NLP modeling)
Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2016-present Translation by Cristiana Brezeanu of the article “Cum să citești mai repede pe calculator “published initially by Marcus Victor Grant in Romanian on July the 27th, 2021 on Discerne. Originally written in 2016. Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, all rights reserved.
The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.