The Impact of Reading Medium on the Comprehension and Judgment of Performance of Moroccan EFL Readers

On-screen reading Digital natives Higher education Digital literacy Self-efficacy beliefs


January 15, 2023


Technology use in Moroccan higher education classrooms is growing at an exponential rate. However, current knowledge about the pedagogical effectiveness of Information Communication Technology (ICT) usage for reading and self-efficacy beliefs of Moroccan EFL readers is inconclusive. The main purpose of the present study was to examine the impact of reading texts on paper versus on-screen on reading comprehension and judgment of performance, while controlling for relevant individual difference variables. In a between-subjects design, three groups of first-year university students (N = 83) read an expository text on a sheet of paper versus on a laptop. Before reading, topic knowledge was assessed. After reading, participants were asked to answer three open-ended questions (main idea, key points, and other relevant ideas) and one closed-ended question (true-false). Next, based on the medium used for reading, participants were asked to rate how confident they were that the answers they provided were correct. Results of the t-test showed that reading medium did not affect overall reading comprehension, but slight differences between groups emerged. Calculated means indicated that participants who read on paper scored somewhat better on the main idea and other-relevant ideas questions; whereas, participants who read on-screen scored a little bit better on the key points and true-false questions. Moreover, results suggested no influence of the reading medium on students’ post-task judgments, indicating that participants who read on-screen were about as accurate in judging their comprehension performance as those who read on paper. These results suggest that reading short factual texts on the screen has no detrimental effects on the cognitive and metacognitive abilities of EFL readers.