How Do Active Reading Strategies Affect Learning Outcomes in Web Search?

N. Roy, M. Valle Torre, Ujwal Gadiraju, D.M. Maxwell, C. Hauff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
240 Downloads (Pure)


Prior work in education research has shown that various active reading strategies, notably highlighting and note-taking, benefit learning outcomes. Most of these findings are based on observational studies where learners learn from a single document. In a Search as Learning (SAL) context where learners have to iteratively scan and explore a large number of documents to address their learning objective, the effect of these active reading strategies is largely unexplored. To address this research gap, we carried out a crowd-sourced user study, and explored the effects of different highlighting and note-taking strategies on learning during a complex, learning-oriented search task. Out of five hypotheses derived from the education literature we could confirm three in the SAL context. Our findings have important design implications on aiding learning through search. Learners can benefit from search interfaces equipped with active reading tools—but some learning strategies employing these tools are more effective than others. (This research has been supported by DDS (Delft Data Science) and NWO projects SearchX (639.022.722) and Aspasia (015.013.027).)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Information Retrieval - 43rd European Conference on IR Research, ECIR 2021, Proceedings
EditorsDjoerd Hiemstra, Marie-Francine Moens, Josiane Mothe, Raffaele Perego, Martin Potthast, Fabrizio Sebastiani
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventECIR 2021: 43rd European Conference on Information Retrieval - Virtual/online event due to COVID-19, Online at Lucca, Italy
Duration: 28 Mar 20211 Apr 2021
Conference number: 43rd

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume12657 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


ConferenceECIR 2021
CityOnline at Lucca

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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