Shapiro, A., & Niederhauser, D. (2004). Learning from hypertext: Research issues and findings. Handbook of Research for Educational Communications and Technology (pp. 605-620). New York: Macmillan.
This article compares and contrasts hypertext online media to traditional text. Traditional text has a more linear structure that is more sequential in the logical development of ideas presented by the author. However, hypertext has a variety of formats that web designers use that may not follow the linear structure of traditional texts and incorporates various perspectives and media. Traditional texts provide learners with natural eye movement as they read pages. However, hypertext may require scrolling, and have unusual graphics or color schemes that do not mimic natural eye movement and requires more effort from learners, which can lead to disorientation. Hypertext generally has a hierarchical structure that follows the logic of the author of the information. Since users have autonomy in the order in which they navigate through hypertext, they may not access information in a sequence that will maximize their attainment of knowledge presented through hypertext. This may not impact advanced learners with strong background knowledge who may want to expand their knowledge of a concept. However, this format may be a disadvantage for novice learners that are not as familiar with a topic. Novice learners may access links out of order and have little background knowledge to activate to learn concepts. The design of hypertext must consider various domains of knowledge and the best formatting that correlates to a particular domain. Learners can benefit from particular positioning, sequencing, and formatting of hypertext for certain domains of knowledge. Therefore, designers should provide learners with the best instructional strategies and formatting that are specific to the domain of knowledge. Hypertext is categorized as well defined or ill structured. Well defined hypertext is a hierarchy of information, which leads to an understanding of basic facts. Ill structured hypertext is conducive to advanced learners since it has a more challenging format. Neiderhauser and Shapiro encourage more research to be done to continue to improve and advance the implementation of hypertext in education.
This article provides information that can be helpful for educators when they incorporate hypertext into learning. The advantages and disadvantages of hypertext will assist educators in scaffolding hypertext instruction to meet the needs of novice and advanced learners. Educators can ensure that prior knowledge is activated and goal setting is encouraged when instructing learners through hypertext. This article provides a foundation of hypertext media research that can be further explored by other educational technologists to maximize hypertext instruction.
I have incorporated hypertext media into instruction as an educator. I believe that activating prior knowledge, relating hypertext to real world scenarios and assisting in goal setting of learners can be beneficial in allowing learners to have more acquisition of knowledge. Scaffolding is definitely important when instructing novice learners on how to navigate through hypertext and building their skills to become more proficient with independent research of hypertext media.
Brusilovsky, P., Chignell, M., Szigeti, S., & Toms, E. (2010). Evaluating hypertext: The qualitative -quantitative quandary. Proceedings of the 21st ACM Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia. (pp. 211 – 212) New York, NY.