Learning from diagrams in computer aided learning environments
: the explicit and implicit depiction of motion and its effect on accurate and meaningful learning

  • Ruqiyabi Naz Awan

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The role of diagrammatic learning materials is to encourage accurate and meaningful learning. Within this, the depiction of motion in diagrams can be represented in a variety of ways that range from the explicit depiction of continuous motion (animation) to statics representations that depict no explicit motion but require the viewer to infer motion (implicit motion). However, the effect that diagrammatic presentation modes, of dynamic processes, have on the process of learning, has not been established.
Traditional assessment of learners' conceptual understanding of content presented in a diagrammatic presentation modes may also affect learners' perceptions of their own conceptual understanding. Thus, the traditional definition of meaningful learning must be expanded to also account for whether there is a relationship between what has been learnt and learners' perceptions of their conceptual understanding (what learners believe has been learnt).
The thesis therefore assessed diagrammatic presentation modes that depict explicit and implicit motion in computer aided learning (CAL) environments, with explicit instructional methods and cognitive tools, and their effect upon accurate and meaningful learning outcomes. Furthermore, the effect of different diagrammatic presentation modes upon learners' opinions of the learning experience and presented information content were also investigated.
The results generated by two studies revealed that participants that viewed a diagram that explicitly depicted motion, whether t was "smooth and continuous" or otherwise, consistently issued overly confident estimates of their perceived understanding with participants that viewed a static diagram. However, no significant differences were found for teat scores. These findings suggest that the use of animation in CAL environments should be treated with caution and when used, should be accompanied by methods and tools that allow the learner to actively reflect and critique their own perceived understanding of the presented content.
Date of Award1 May 2006
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorBrett Stevens (Supervisor) & Roger A. Beresford (Supervisor)

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