6 reasons why PDFs are not perfect for learning

PDFs are a good choice for reading and saving information. But not for learning. The reason is simply that PDFs were made to be viewed on large screens with high resolution.
The image shows a keyboard. The black return-key is changed to a red PDF-key
Roman Schurter
Roman Schurter
+20 years educational content creation, Community Manager and Learning Designer at Get More Brain.

They are optimized for reading long pages of text without having to scroll up or down, so they’re great when you have a big monitor in front of you.

However, when you try to learn with PDFs, you’ll find that they have several disadvantages.

Where PDFs fail

  1. First of all they are not responsive. This means that they are not designed for small devices such as smartphones and tablets.
  2. You cannot add your own content, meaning that you can’t create your own study materials by combining different sources. Well, you can but you need a Pro-Version of any PDF-software.
  3. There is no interaction. You cannot take quizzes and you cannot participate in discussions about the content.
  4. There is no multimedia. You can’t watch videos or listen to audio files without opening them in another app.
  5. There is no copyright protection. Anyone can copy and paste your content without giving you credit. This can be a major issue for content providers who want to protect their work.
  6. There is no tracking of learning progress, meaning you can’t see how much you have learned or how many times you have read a document.

Conclusion

PDFs have a few advantages but also a lot of disadvantages when it comes to learning. This is mainly because they were not designed for that purpose. If you’re looking to learn something, it’s best to find other formats that are more interactive and allow you to track your progress.

There are other apps which are much better suited for learning than PDFs.

Get More Brain is a learning app which allows you to add your own content, including videos and audio files. It’s perfect for creating your own study materials. Additionally, it allows you to participate in discussions about the content with other students. Get More Brain is great for interactive learning and allows you to track your progress as you go.

Get More Brain relies on Bitmark, an open source markup language which makes it easy to create learning content in a structured, sustainable and interactive way. Bitmark was created to bring learning content to the smartphone.

And yes, you could also create PDFs from Bitmark if you still wanted to.

This story was first published on LinkedIn (27. January 2022)

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