Our Blog - Ebooks, Interoperability and Assessments
Printed Media still holds a viable market share and its popularity has not diminished to the extent as was expected.
Interoperability and eBooks: Examining Assessment and Tool Delivery
Part 2 - 31 Jan 2017 - By Nikolas Stratis
Over recent years there have been various evaluations into the adoption of eBooks for academic purposes. The key drive for this research is to determine the preferences of users, their interactions with eBooks and why they might prefer printed media over the equivalent digital technology.
Research data for such topics however is limited to the availability of the technologies at the time and little data has been recorded or surveys undertaken relating to specific interactions with eBooks. These may include the utilization of Tools, the undertaking of assessments to fulfil course requirements or the ability to annotate and have portability of learning and assessment material.
Ebooks vs Print
Studies at the University of Liverpool in 2010  have highlighted that whereby students and teachers are heavily invested in digital technology, only a marginal amount of time is used for academic purposes.
It was clear from the results of the survey that student utilization of eBooks was inconsistent, and the demand for embracing such media for course material not as prevalent as was initially anticipated. (See Fig. 1)
Ebooks and Education
In 2010 the concept of using an eBook for assessment material and the capacity to provide course exams in a distributable eBook format that would allow persistence to a cloud server was not familiar to most. General evaluations were undertaken based on the utilization of such books more as textbooks for Research, Study or Training. It is visible from the results that students predominantly use eBooks for study whereby Teachers would invest more time undertaking research and information analysis. (See Fig. 2)
In addition to the above, the query as to the types of eBooks used indicates a heavy percentage in both groups using course books and reference material. (See Fig. 3)
The advancing scope of the questions being posed in a research survey conducted in present times may suggest additional options surrounding the inclusion of material such as “Interactive Exams” and “Assessments”. It would also be prudent to categorize the types of books being read with a focus determination on the interactive state of the publication. Does it support tool features? Is it simple Text? Are there interactions and Annotations? Are there animations? Can you save data to a cloud Learning Management System?
An alternate study performed at the University of Kansas conducted in 2012  suggests that print still maintains a strong foot hold, the popularity and physical nature of printed material has not lost its effect on readers.
Although research concerning eBook adoption and use is still in its infancy, a number of studies have examined predictors of eBook adoption and use. An experimental study found that reading an eBook caused greater eye fatigue and lower reading efficiency in comparison with reading a conventional book. 
A study performed by Christine Fyfe (2014)  investigates eBooks within Higher education and highlights three fundamentals to engaging eBooks for strategic learning purposes. These include but are not limited to, enhancing the student experience and academic outcomes, to drive the innovation in learning, teaching and research; and to help to use space and human resources more effectively and efficiently.
It has been proposed that there are ultimately pedagogical benefits when delivering learning content via printed media which offers an increased capacity for focus and attention, with comparative interactive eLearning content posing more of a distraction to younger learners.
Realistically it cannot be argued that eBooks do not pose significant advantages over printed media however the evolution and abandonment of printed books over digitized formats will be a sluggish process.