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Rev Educ Res. 2015 Dec;85(4):698-739.

Benefits and Pitfalls of Multimedia and Interactive Features in Technology-Enhanced Storybooks: A Meta-Analysis.

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Leiden University.


A meta-analysis was conducted on the effects of technology-enhanced stories for young children's literacy development when compared to listening to stories in more traditional settings like storybook reading. A small but significant additional benefit of technology was found for story comprehension (g+ = 0.17) and expressive vocabulary (g+ = 0.20), based on data from 2,147 children in 43 studies. When investigating the different characteristics of technology-enhanced stories, multimedia features like animated pictures, music, and sound effects were found beneficial. In contrast, interactive elements like hotspots, games, and dictionaries were found to be distracting. Especially for children disadvantaged because of less stimulating family environments, multimedia features were helpful and interactive features were detrimental. Findings are discussed from the perspective of cognitive processing theories.


at-risk students; computers and learning; instructional technologies; literacy; media; meta-analysis; vocabulary

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