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The effects of visual and verbal mnemonics on learning Chinese characters in computer-based instruction

, University of Minnesota, United States

University of Minnesota . Awarded


The primary purpose of this study is to examine the difference between computer-based visual and verbal coding mnemonics in learning Chinese characters. The second purpose is to examine whether self-generated mnemonics are more beneficial for learners than experimenter-supplied mnemonics. This study employed a single-factor multiple-treatment design. A total of 111 ninth and tenth graders were randomly assigned to six groups of different treatment: (1) translation, (2) verbal mnemonics, (3) visual mnemonics, (4) verbal plus visual mnemonics, (5) self-generated mnemonics, (6) no information (control group). All six groups received instruction and took a post-test in a computer-based learning environment. One week later, subjects took the same test with test items shuffled as a delayed post-test. Eighteen subjects (three from each of the six groups) were selected to answer an open-ended questionnaire.

The dependent measures are the following: the performance scores from two posttests, time on learning task, efficiency, and the difference scores between the immediate and the delayed post-test. Separate one-way ANOVA and Tukey's follow-up comparisons were used to analyze the treatment effects. The results of the current investigation and its pilot study indicated that: (1) dual coding mnemonics were not better than single coding mnemonics, (2) visual coding mnemonics were not superior to verbal ones, (3) self-generated memory aids were not better than experimenter-supplied mnemonics, and (4) animation did not facilitate memorization. However, the results show that the self-generated group spent much more time on task than any other group, the experimenter-supplied mnemonics were more efficient than the self-generated memory aids, and the dual coding strategies were more efficient than verbal coding ones. Furthermore, the qualitative data suggested that: (1) dual coding phenomenon may occur in the non-dual coded mnemonics groups, (2) learners' interpretations of the characters were rooted on their own cultural backgrounds as well as their personal experiences. The implications of the results from this study and recommendations for future research are also discussed.


Kuo-Newhouse, M.L.A. The effects of visual and verbal mnemonics on learning Chinese characters in computer-based instruction. Ph.D. thesis, University of Minnesota. Retrieved March 5, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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