Learning How to Learn from Digital Textbooks: Evidence-Informed Recommendations for Instructors and Students


Digital textbooks have increased in popularity and are becoming a standard part of higher education. The digital textbooks of today are qualitatively different from the early days of converting print texts to pdfs for students to read. Currently, many digital textbooks are designed and developed in a digital environment allowing for the inclusion of interactive features to promote engagement and learning. Digital textbooks have the unique advantage of using technology to capitalize on evidence-informed principles from learning science to create a product that can improve learning outcomes. In this article, I draw on my experience as an author of a digital-first textbook, long-time instructor, and scholarship of teaching and learning researcher to discuss how students can successfully learn from digital textbooks. I explain how learning science is used to develop engaging, evidence-based textbooks and how students can take advantage of these features. Finally, I provide a set of guidelines for instructors with respect to the implementation and use of digital textbooks. When instructors and students use a digital textbook in a way consistent with how it was developed, the textbook can become an integral part of a successful course



Document Type





digital textbooks, learning science, scholarship of teaching and learning, learning from textbooks, evidence-informed learning strategies

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Journal Title

Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne