Effects of Mode of Target Task Selection on Learning About Plants in a Mobile Learning Environment: Effortful Manual Selection Versus Effortless QR-Code Selection

Yuan Gao, Tzu-Chien Liu, Fred Paas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study compared the effects of effortless selection of target plants using quick respond (QR) code technology to effortful manual search and selection of target plants on learning about plants in a mobile device supported learning environment. In addition, it was investigated whether the effectiveness of the 2 selection methods was differentially affected by the number of target plants (6, 8, 10 plants) the students could choose from. Results on a plant recognition test revealed that selection through QR codes was superior to manual selection when the number of plants was high, whereas manual selection was superior with the lower and medium number of plants. In contrast, results on a leaf morphology test revealed that the QR code technology was more effective compared to the manual search selection for learning regardless of the number of target plants. The theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-704
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 1



  • Cognitive load
  • Mobile learning
  • Quick response code
  • Subsequent-task effect
  • Working memory capacity
  • Working memory resources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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