Reading a story: Different degrees of learning in different learning environments

Anna Maria Giannini, Pierluigi Cordellieri, Laura Piccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The learning environment in which material is acquired may produce differences in delayed recall and in the elements that individuals focus on. These differences may appear even during development. In the present study, we compared three different learning environments in 450 normally developing 7-year-old children subdivided into three groups according to the type of learning environment. Specifically, children were asked to learn the same material shown in three different learning environments: reading illustrated books (TB); interacting with the same text displayed on a PC monitor and enriched with interactive activities (PC-IA); reading the same text on a PC monitor but not enriched with interactive narratives (PC-NoIA). Our results demonstrated that TB and PC-NoIA elicited better verbal memory recall. In contrast, PC-IA and PC-NoIA produced higher scores for visuo-spatial memory, enhancing memory for spatial relations, positions and colors with respect to TB. Interestingly, only TB seemed to produce a deeper comprehension of the story's moral. Our results indicated that PC-IA offered a different type of learning that favored visual details. In this sense, interactive activities demonstrate certain limitations, probably due to information overabundance, emotional mobilization, emphasis on images and effort exerted in interactive activities. Thus, interactive activities, although entertaining, act as disruptive elements which interfere with verbal memory and deep moral comprehension.

Original languageEnglish
Article number701
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - Oct 4 2017


  • Learning scenarios
  • Moral comprehension
  • Multimedia
  • Verbal memory
  • Visual memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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