Do the spatial features of an adjunct display that readers complete while reading affect their understanding of a complex system?

Matthew McCrudden, Montana K. McCormick, Erin M. McTigue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

We varied the spatial features of adjunct displays that depicted a complex scientific system (i. e. human circulatory system). University students (n = 47), who were assigned randomly to a display condition before reading, selected relevant information from the text and wrote it (a) next to a list of definitions (list condition), (b) inside boxes organized to coincide with the sequence of blood flow (chart condition), or (c) on a picture of the heart (pictorial condition). Students in the chart and pictorial conditions had higher scores on 2 learning tests. Results supported the nonequivalence hypothesis, which states that a spatial display can promote learning more effectively than a list because a display's nonverbal (e. g. spatial) features explicitly depict relationships among a system's components. The results have implications for science educators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-185
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Mathematics(all)

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