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 “WE READ FAMILIAR TYPEFACES BEST, BUT WE LEARN BETTER WITH UNFAMILIAR ONES.”

I was reading an article on smashing magazine about typefaces and the above line caught my attention.

How would this play out for e-learning or just learning in general? Would presenting material in text books or e-learning modules in untraditional fonts enable better learning of subject matters?  Is it better to stick with selecting from Times New Roman, Helvetica, or Arial?

“A recent study by Connor Diemand-Yauman, Daniel M. Oppenheimer and Erikka B. Vaughan on the “Effects of Disfluency on Educational Outcomes” (PDF, 1.3 MB) found that information rendered in hard-to-read fonts was more easily remembered than information rendered in fonts deemed easier to read.”

While people are believed to read best in familiar typefaces or what we read in the most, presenting information in unique fonts leads to deeper processing and improved memory performance.  This though doesn’t mean that we should begin to design by discarding popular typefaces but perhaps exploring alternatives which are similar and not too drastically different would have its benefits in an e-learning context.  Even combining typefaces where key details were in a different font or style may help contribute to this same effect.

Differences between Times and Times New Roman.
Skolar as a replacement for Times and Times New Roman? Can you spot the difference between the two Times’?

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