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The effect of time and level of visual enhancement in facilitating student achievement of different educational objectives

, The Pennsylvania State University, United States

The Pennsylvania State University . Awarded


This thesis describes the design, implementation, and results of an experimental study in visual learning conducted as part of a Ph.D. program in Instructional Design at the Pennsylvania State University. This is one of the studies in Francis Dwyer's Program of Systematic Evaluation, which is generally regarded as being the field's most comprehensive program of ongoing research in visual learning.

This thesis investigates how certain visualization and timing techniques, commonly employed in computer assisted instructional presentations, affect student achievement. It examines the relative effectiveness of using static and dynamic visual strategies for facilitating the achievement of specific learning objectives when study time is varied. It attempts to reveal if certain types of static and dynamic visuals are more effective than others for achieving certain learning objectives, and to determine if the different visual strategies require differing lengths of study time for students to comprehend the relevant details. The relative effectiveness of different randomly assigned visual and timing strategies are measured by comparing subjects' scores on a series of identical tests, which are designed to measure different educational objectives. The instructional sequence, which describes the human heart, identifies its parts, and describes their functions, is delivered to 200 individual, undergraduate college students by computer-driven multimedia. Each of four visual treatments (static, graphic reveal, animation, combined graphic reveal and animation) is tested against each of two timing strategies (student-paced, versus program-paced), in a 4 (visualization) x 2 (timing) mixed factorial design.

Analysis of the test scores revealed that there was no interaction between the visual and timing strategies, and no significant differences in achievement between and among the four visual treatments. In the timing treatments, however, scores for the student-paced treatment were significantly higher than for the program-paced version.

Conclusions drawn from this study suggest that, in light of the high cost for developing animated visuals, static visuals may provide a more cost-effective approach for more sophisticated learners, including college-level student populations, especially for instruction that focuses on cognitive learning objectives. This conclusion could be described as contradicting, or at least refining, prior theory in the use of animation for instruction.


Wilson, F.S. The effect of time and level of visual enhancement in facilitating student achievement of different educational objectives. Ph.D. thesis, The Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved October 18, 2019 from .

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

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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