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Animation and learning: selective processing of information in dynamic graphics

Learning and Instruction Volume 13, Number 2, ISSN 0959-4752 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Animation can provide learners with explicit dynamic information that is either implicit or unavailable in static graphics. However, the inclusion of temporal change in a visual display introduces additional and qualitatively different information processing demands. For learners to be successful in building high-quality mental models from animated instruction, they must extract thematically relevant information from the animation and incorporate it into their knowledge structures. Animation group subjects used a dynamic depiction of weather map changes to help them predict the future pattern of meteorological markings on a given map and then made a further prediction for a different map without the aid of the animation. Predictions from these subjects were superior in some respects to those produced by control subjects but this superiority tended to be limited to aspects that had high perceptual salience in the animation. The findings indicate selective processing of the animation that involved perceptually driven dynamic effects analogous to the field–ground effects associated with the visuospatial characteristics of static graphics, and raise questions about the widely assumed intrinsic superiority of animations over static graphics as resources for learning.


Lowe, R.K. (2003). Animation and learning: selective processing of information in dynamic graphics. Learning and Instruction, 13(2), 157-176. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 18, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Learning and Instruction on January 29, 2019. Learning and Instruction is a publication of Elsevier.

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