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There's more to the multimedia effect than meets the eye : is seeing pictures believing?

Ögren, Magnus; Nyström, Marcus LU and Jarodzka, Halszka (2017) In Instructional Science 45(2). p.263-287
Abstract
Textbooks in applied mathematics often use graphs to explain the meaning of formulae, even though their benefit is still not fully explored. To test processes underlying this assumed multimedia effect we collected performance scores, eye movements, and think-aloud protocols from students solving problems in vector calculus with and without graphs. Results showed no overall multimedia effect, but instead an effect to confirm statements that were accompanied by graphs, irrespective of whether these statements were true or false. Eye movement and verbal data shed light on this surprising finding. Students looked proportionally less at the text and the problem statement when a graph was present. Moreover, they experienced more mental effort... (More)
Textbooks in applied mathematics often use graphs to explain the meaning of formulae, even though their benefit is still not fully explored. To test processes underlying this assumed multimedia effect we collected performance scores, eye movements, and think-aloud protocols from students solving problems in vector calculus with and without graphs. Results showed no overall multimedia effect, but instead an effect to confirm statements that were accompanied by graphs, irrespective of whether these statements were true or false. Eye movement and verbal data shed light on this surprising finding. Students looked proportionally less at the text and the problem statement when a graph was present. Moreover, they experienced more mental effort with the graph, as indicated by more silent pauses in thinking aloud. Hence, students actively processed the graphs. This, however, was not sufficient. Further analysis revealed that the more students looked at the statement, the better they performed. Thus, in the multimedia condition the graph drew students’ attention and cognitive capacities away from focusing on the statement. A good alternative strategy in the multimedia condition was to frequently look between graph and problem statement, and thus to integrate their information. In conclusion, graphs influence where students look and what they process, and may even mislead them into believing accompanying information. Thus, teachers and textbook designers should be very critical on when to use graphs and carefully consider how the graphs are integrated with other parts of the problem (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Instructional Science
volume
45
issue
2
pages
25 pages
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • scopus:84991387594
  • wos:000397984900007
ISSN
0020-4277
DOI
10.1007/s11251-016-9397-6
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0b407f18-6365-4094-996f-09cc5740d5ed
date added to LUP
2016-10-06 07:51:54
date last changed
2017-11-14 09:50:53
@article{0b407f18-6365-4094-996f-09cc5740d5ed,
  abstract     = {Textbooks in applied mathematics often use graphs to explain the meaning of formulae, even though their benefit is still not fully explored. To test processes underlying this assumed multimedia effect we collected performance scores, eye movements, and think-aloud protocols from students solving problems in vector calculus with and without graphs. Results showed no overall multimedia effect, but instead an effect to confirm statements that were accompanied by graphs, irrespective of whether these statements were true or false. Eye movement and verbal data shed light on this surprising finding. Students looked proportionally less at the text and the problem statement when a graph was present. Moreover, they experienced more mental effort with the graph, as indicated by more silent pauses in thinking aloud. Hence, students actively processed the graphs. This, however, was not sufficient. Further analysis revealed that the more students looked at the statement, the better they performed. Thus, in the multimedia condition the graph drew students’ attention and cognitive capacities away from focusing on the statement. A good alternative strategy in the multimedia condition was to frequently look between graph and problem statement, and thus to integrate their information. In conclusion, graphs influence where students look and what they process, and may even mislead them into believing accompanying information. Thus, teachers and textbook designers should be very critical on when to use graphs and carefully consider how the graphs are integrated with other parts of the problem},
  author       = {Ögren, Magnus and Nyström, Marcus and Jarodzka, Halszka},
  issn         = {0020-4277},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {263--287},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Instructional Science},
  title        = {There's more to the multimedia effect than meets the eye : is seeing pictures believing?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11251-016-9397-6},
  volume       = {45},
  year         = {2017},
}