Cognitive strategies for learning from static and dynamic visuals
An experimental study with 60 students investigated the effects of including static or dynamic visuals in an expository text on a learning outcome and the use of learning strategies while working with those visuals. For the study, two illustrated and one text-only version of a computer-based learning text on an astrophysical subject were developed and served as the learning material. Considering the cognitive task demand in a learning test, we found significant differences between the illustrated versions and the text-only version, but not between the two illustrated ones. We used think-aloud protocols to examine the learning processes initiated by both types of visuals. The coding of the recorded learning activities was based on recent theories of learning strategies. The results for both types of illustrations indicate different frequencies in the use of learning strategies relevant for the learning outcome, and therefore indicate the contribution of the cognitive process quality for the supportive function of visuals.