Impact of static graphics, animated graphics and mental imagery on a complex learning task

Feng-Qi Lai, Timothy J. Newby


The present study compared the impact of different categories of graphics used within a complex learning task. One hundred eighty five native English speaking undergraduates participated in a task that required learning 18 Chinese radicals and their English equivalent translations. A post-test only control group design compared performance differences following training between 5 groups of participants (control, concrete verbal imagery information, single static graphics, multiple gradient static graphics, and animated graphics) on both immediate and 4-week retention tests. Data analysis indicated all graphic groups significantly outperformed the control group immediately following training. A 4-week delayed test showed those originally receiving multiple gradient static graphics significantly outperformed all other groups except those receiving the animated graphics. Implications are discussed based on cognitive load and the cognitive theory of multimedia learning.

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