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The strategies used by students to read educational Websites and their relation to Website usability and text design

, University of Pittsburgh, United States

University of Pittsburgh . Awarded


This study investigated the strategies used by students to read texts published on educational websites. It was intended to help inform instructional designers and teachers of appropriate ways to design and prepare instructional web-based texts. To conduct this investigation, seven graduate students in the School of Education in different majors were nonrandomly selected to participate in the study. Each participant performed the required task individually in a 90-minute session. During the session, a participant was required to read the first chapter of a book about virtual instruction, published on the Net Library website. Each participant was asked to think aloud while reading the text in order to inform the researcher of the strategies he used during reading and to report any usability problems he may have encountered. The computer screen was videotaped during the task in order to capture any additional information about each participant's use of the strategies. After participants finished reading the text, they performed a retelling task in which they retold the text in writing covering all the knowledge acquired from the text. Analysis of data resulted on defining 19 web-related reading strategy (WRRS) classified in the following categories: approaching the text, modifying, browsing/navigating, personalized, and evaluating, and 19 text-related strategies classified in the following categories: basic reading, text-reader interaction, personalized, and evaluating. The mean score for participants in the retelling task was defined as 21 stated and detailed ideas out of 64 possible ideas mentioned in the text. Participants also reported two types of usability problems defined as design-related usability problems, and navigation-related usability problems. Based on the results, a number of recommendations were suggested for both websites design such as user recognition techniques and supporting of annotations, and for web-based learning such as testing students for WRRS and TRRS and train them for these types of strategies upon enrolling in web-based courses that require fair amount of online reading.


Elshair, H.M. The strategies used by students to read educational Websites and their relation to Website usability and text design. Ph.D. thesis, University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved May 26, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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