Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Magliano, Joseph P.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)


Department of Psychology


Interactive multimedia||Learning--Effect of technological innovations on


The goal of this research was to test the effectiveness of a hypertext environment on learning. Hypertext is a database system for presenting information online. Prior research in this area has not been conclusive regarding its effectiveness for learning. This study was designed to elucidate this research by assessing the implications of transfer-appropriate processing, which emphasizes the alignment between how an individual acquires information and later retrieves and uses it. Across two experiments the structure of a hypertext was manipulated such that the content emphasized one of two organizations. After reading the hypertexts, participants received questions that emphasized one or the other structure. The transfer-appropriate processes framework predicts that performance on these questions would be best when there is alignment between the structure of the hypertext and the focus of the question. Experiment 1 focused on reading ability as a mediating factor in learning from hypertext. Experiment 2 focused on learning goals as a mediating factor. As predicted, skilled readers in Experiment 1 took advantage of hypertext structure when it aligned with the questions they were asked to answer. However, these findings resulted with only one of the experimental hypertexts; the other hypertext showed no advantage over the other for the questions in which it was aligned. It was concluded that this occurred because of a possible difference in the distinctiveness of information each hypertext contained. Also as predicted, less-skilled readers did not take advantage of hypertext structure. This finding is consistent with research conducted on linear text. While the findings for Experiment 2 did not show support for any predictions, these findings may have been due to a floor effect. It was concluded that this effect might have been due to various factors associated with the argument writing task given to the participants. The results of this research add to the literature because they demonstrate that the transfer-appropriate processing framework has implications for learning from hypertext. Specifically, designers of hypertext must be aware of how information will be used by the reader when creating a hypertext environment. These implications as well as future research are discussed.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [73]-82).


vi, 101 pages




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