Determining what factors predict media learning is an important avenue of research for the field of mass communication. The present study provides a comparative investigation of two models of media learning: the cognitive mediation model and the information utility model. Participants (N = 1,076) read a news article related to scientific discoveries relevant to cancer prevention and responded to all constructs of the two models. Recognition and comprehension were used to measure knowledge acquisition. Results generally support previous predictions of each model, though predicted variance remains small. In addition to testing the existing models, a modified cognitive mediation model using a key construct related to information utility—perceived relevance—was tested. The refined cognitive mediation model offered a more nuanced understanding of certain causal mechanisms but did not result in a meaningful change in predictive power of the model. Implications of the theoretical comparison and integration are discussed.
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