Learning from different multimedia representation formats: effects of prior knowledge

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated interaction effects of multimedia representation format and learner’s prior knowledge level on learning outcomes. Eighty-seven high school students with a lower or a higher level of physics prior knowledge learned about the operation of a nuclear power plant and the concepts of generating electricity by studying static graphics, an animation, or a simulation. Results indicated that the lower physics prior knowledge level students learned more from the animations than from the static graphics, and the simulation. However, learning outcomes of the higher physics prior knowledge level students did not differ between the three multimedia format conditions. The results suggest that the learner’s prior knowledge level should be considered when choosing an appropriate multimedia representation format, especially for students with low prior knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Research on Technology in Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Multimedia representation format
  • animation
  • cognitive load
  • prior knowledge
  • simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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