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An Investigation of Using a Tablet Computer for Searching on the Web and the Influence of Cognitive Load

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Doi: 10.20982/tqmp.16.3.p226

Debue, Nicolas , Oufi, Nora , van de Leemput, Cécile
Keywords: Tablet computer , performance , information search , cognitive load theory
Tools: R
(no sample data)   (no appendix)

This paper presents two lab-based experiments that compare laptop and tablet performance in web-based search. Compared to laptops, tablets feature smaller screens and require gestures to interact with them and to input information. It is thought that tablets may require the use of additional mental resources and that this demand may hinder performance. A first experiment (N=69) found that laptop users outperformed tablet users while conducting assigned information search tasks on Wikipedia, and a second experiment (N=60) replicated these results. In the second study, subjective ratings of cognitive load and eye-tracking data were collected to explore the impact of tablet use on intrinsic and extraneous load. The data collected indicated that the decrease in performance is related to an increase of extraneous load when using tablet computers. Hence, policy makers should be cautious when considering whether to replace laptops with tablets in the classrooms.

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