As educators, we are always looking for ways to improve the learning outcomes of our students. One overlooked aspect that has been gaining attention in recent years is the font size used in educational materials. While it may seem like a small detail, research has shown that font size can have a significant impact on learner retention.
A study conducted by Connor Diemand-Yauman, Daniel Oppenheimer, and Erikka Vaughan from Princeton University in 2010 found that using larger font sizes can improve reading speed, comprehension, and overall learning outcomes. The study involved 28 college students who were randomly assigned to either a small font or large font group. The participants who read the passage in the larger font size scored significantly higher on the comprehension quiz compared to those who read in the smaller font size.
Another study conducted by the University of Twente in the Netherlands found similar results. The study involved 25 participants who were asked to read a text passage in either a 10-point font or a 12-point font. The participants who read in the larger font size performed significantly better on a memory test than those who read in the smaller font size.
So why does font size have such a significant impact on learner retention? One reason is that larger font sizes make it easier for learners to read and process information. When learners have to strain their eyes to read small text, it can cause fatigue and lead to decreased comprehension. Additionally, larger font sizes can help learners to focus better on the material, reducing the likelihood of distractions.
It’s important to note that font size is not the only factor that can impact learner retention. Font type, line spacing, and contrast also play a role in how easy it is for learners to read and process information. However, font size is a simple and easy factor that educators can control, making it a good place to start when looking to improve learning outcomes.
So what font size should educators use in their materials? While the ideal font size can depend on the individual learner and the specific material being presented, a good rule of thumb is to use a font size of at least 12 points. This size is large enough to be easily read by most learners without causing eye strain or fatigue.
In conclusion, font size is an important factor that educators should consider when creating educational materials. Using larger font sizes can improve learner retention and overall learning outcomes, making it a simple but effective way to enhance the effectiveness of educational materials.