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Effects of Concreteness and Contiguity on Learning from Computer-Based Reference Maps

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Journal of Interactive Online Learning Volume 5, Number 3 ISSN 1541-4914


Today's technology has reached new heights that have not been fully implemented. One of the areas where technology has not yet reached its full potential is in education. This study examined the effects of concreteness of location names and contiguity of location names with textual information on learning from computer-based reference maps. The research was designed to be a 3 concreteness (concrete vs. abstract vs. non-familiar) X 2 contiguity (non-contiguous vs. contiguous) with six treatment levels. One hundred and sixty-seven college students studied a digital reference map presented to them. The results indicate that participants in the contiguous condition recalled significantly more feature-related facts than those in the non-contiguous condition. The results also indicate that the participants' performance in recall, matching feature-fact pairs, as well as in the inference was significantly more for concrete features names and abstract feature names than the non-familiar feature names. A significant interaction effect was also observed for the matching of fact-feature pairs. The findings are not thoroughly consistent with the concreteness and conceptual peg effects associated with Paivio's dual coding theory (DCT). More research needs to be done to continue investigating this phenomenon. However, this study will assist teachers and designers better understand how to design cognitive maps and spatial displays that facilitate learning.


Srinivasan, S., Lewis, D.D. & Crooks, S.M. Effects of Concreteness and Contiguity on Learning from Computer-Based Reference Maps. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 5(3), 243-254. Retrieved January 25, 2020 from .

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