Learning from animations and computer simulations: Modality and reverse modality effects

Tzu Chien Liu, Yi Chun Lin, Chih Yi Hsu, Chung Yuan Hsu, Fred Paas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although a modality effect indicating better learning from an animation with spoken learning guidance than from an animation with written learning guidance has often been found in research on learning from animation, the effect has hardly been investigated for learning from computer simulation. This study examined the interaction effects between the multimedia types of animation and computer simulation, and the presentation modes of written and spoken learning guidance. Based on cognitive load theory and the specific characteristics of the multimedia types it was hypothesized that a modality effect would be replicated in the animation condition and a reverse modality effect would be found in the simulation condition. Results partially supported the hypotheses, indicating that participants learned more from animation when it was accompanied with spoken text, and from a simulation when it was accompanied with written text. However, no effect was found for cognitive load. Based on the results, spoken text is recommended to be used to guide learners in animations assisted learning environments, and written text is recommended to be used to guide learners in simulations assisted learning environments. Practitioner Notes What is already known about this topic Animation and computer simulation have been widely used in different learning fields. Modality effect means that students learn more from graphical representations when they are accompanied with spoken text instead of written text. The modality effect has been verified in different learning environments. What this paper adds Examined the interaction effects between the multimedia types of animation and computer simulation, and the presentation modes of written and spoken text in a learning guide. Provided recommendations for designing the leaning guide of animation and simulation based on cognitive load theory. Implications for practice and/or policy Modality effect was verified in animation, and thus, spoken text is more suitable for learning from animation. Reversed modality effect was found in simulation condition, and thus, written text is more suitable for learning from simulation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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