Comparison of dynamic visuals to other presentation formats when learning social science topics in an online setting




instructional formats, video lectures, whiteboard animations, online learning experiences, social science education


Despite the widespread use of whiteboard animations in both academic and informal settings, little evidence exists about their efficacy and impact on learner experiences, especially in non-STEM fields such as the social sciences. This study examined the effects of whiteboard animations against three other instructional formats on comprehension, measured by multiple choice questions and an open-ended summary question, and subjective experiences measured by Likert scale items. In a randomised experiment, Amazon Mechanical Turk participants (N = 299) viewed one of two social science lectures in one of four instructional formats: whiteboard animations, narrated slides, on-stage lecture, or audio/narration alone. Data was analysed using a series of ANOVA tests. Results showed that the whiteboard animation group answered significantly more questions than those who learned with on-stage lectures or narrated slides. Whiteboard animation and audio only groups also reported more enjoyment of, and engagement with, the lessons compared to the other groups. Findings contribute to the body of knowledge by providing evidence on the effectiveness of instructional materials when learning example social science topics.

Implications for practice or policy:

  • Considering on-stage lectures and narrated slides are commonly used video formats in online education, practitioners should consider using different lecture formats (e.g., audio only) when teaching social science subjects.
  • Online course developers may consider using the whiteboard animations to enhance student learning outcomes.


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How to Cite

Turkay, S. (2022). Comparison of dynamic visuals to other presentation formats when learning social science topics in an online setting. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 38(5), 12–26.