Research into diagrams has revealed limited current knowledge of the 'cognitive value of any graphical representation' (Scaife and Rogers 96), p. 185). This study investigated the effects of different formats of the same graphical representation and of different task presentation on student learning. 112 pupils aged 13 and 14 used either a static paper or animated computer graphical representation of cardiac circulation. Half of the pupils in each condition used an open task from which to find information, the other half used a structured work sheet. Pupils completed a test diagram to demonstrate their understanding of blood flow through the heart, which was analysed on four different aspects to assess student learning. A two-way independent analysis of variance and chi-square analyses were used to determine differences in learning. Although no significant differences in media presentation were found, learning was significantly affected by task presentation. Furthermore, the types of errors made in student learning were found to differ significantly across conditions.
Download compressed postscript file