Learning with Trees:

A Non-linear E-Textbook Format for Deep Learning
  • Eric SperoEmail author
  • Milica Stojmenović
  • Ali Arya
  • Robert Biddle
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11590)


A “deep” approach to education requires considering the non-linear connections between concepts, which is difficult to do with the standard linear textbook format. Guided by the cognitive science literature, we designed a format for a new, non-linear e-textbook format, and implemented a high fidelity prototype. We tested this prototype with end-users, measuring its pedagogical efficacy, usability, and overall likability, in comparison with a linear control. We found no significant differences in learning outcomes between the two conditions, but a significantly greater number of participants preferred the non-linear interface. We suspect that many potential advantages of the non-linear format were negated by our short study. Future work should study the effects of the non-linear interface over a longer period of use.


Human-computer interaction Educational technology Cognitive science 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Spero
    • 1
    Email author
  • Milica Stojmenović
    • 1
  • Ali Arya
    • 1
  • Robert Biddle
    • 1
  1. 1.Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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