Systematic Design to Enhance Learning: Multimedia Resources in Online Learning


The purpose of the study was to investigate how dynamic (i.e., animated visuals with narration) versus non-dynamic (i.e., static visuals with narration) multimedia learning resources and spatial ability relate to learning outcomes. The study hypothesized that learning outcomes would differ more distinctly between lower and higher spatial ability learners when using non-dynamic resources as dynamic resources benefit individuals with lower spatial ability more and thus reduce the learning outcome differences (in line with the compensating hypothesis). In this observational study, multimedia resource type and spatial ability were the independent variables. Learning outcomes, as measured by the number of correct responses in procedural knowledge learning tasks, were the dependent variables. A total of 246 participants were solicited on a voluntary basis from an undergraduate student population. All participants were directed to an online survey consisting of two, time-limited learning tasks and one, spatial ability test. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the two, multimedia resource groups. The study found that spatial ability was an acceptable predictor of learning outcomes, especially for the animation group (e.g., r2=0.357/0.278 animation versus r2=0.176/0.219 static, p=0.000). Relatedly, there was a strong, positive correlation between spatial ability and learning outcomes, especially for the animation group (e.g., r=0.605/0.536 animation versus r=0.431/0.479 static, p=0.000), thus resulting in rejection of the study hypothesis. This study provides empirical evidence supporting the enhancer hypothesis, in contrast to the compensating hypothesis, suggesting that higher spatial ability individuals have a greater cognitive capacity to more efficiently use dynamic learning resources.

Author Information
Misook Heo, Duquesne University, United States
Natalie Toomey, Duquesne University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ERI2019
Stream: Instructional Design and Learning Sciences

This paper is part of the ERI2019 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon