Reading and Writing

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 1149–1174 | Cite as

Investigating multiple source use among students with and without dyslexia

  • Anette Andresen
  • Øistein Anmarkrud
  • Ivar BråtenEmail author


Learning from different representations, such as text and pictures, is supposed to be more effective than learning from text alone. However, there is very limited research on potential differences between students with and without dyslexia with respect to learning from different representations. This study compared students with and without dyslexia working with multiple information sources on a socio-scientific issue in a digital environment. Participants were 44 Norwegian tenth-graders, of whom 22 were diagnosed with dyslexia. All participants were presented with a researcher generated Internet site containing three different web pages, each including a video, a text, and a picture, on which conflicting perspectives on the controversial issue of sun exposure and health were discussed. In a first session, participants’ topic knowledge, word recognition, and working memory were measured. In a second session, participants studied the three web pages to prepare an oral presentation on the issue, before they again completed the topic knowledge measure and responded to two integrative questions that assessed their integration of information across web pages and representations. No reliable differences were found between the two groups with regard to pre-reading topic knowledge, post-reading topic knowledge, or knowledge gain. However, participants without dyslexia clearly outperformed participants with dyslexia on multiple source integration and were much more likely to draw on textual sources when trying to integrate information across different web pages and representations. Results also suggested that observed differences with respect to multiple source integration were largely due to working memory differences between the two groups of students.


Multiple source use Multimedia learning Dyslexia Working memory 



Thanks are due to Shane Colvin and Arild Moland for help in creating the learning materials, and to Ladislao Salmerón for statistical advice.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Special Needs EducationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of EducationUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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