Tallinna Ülikool (ESTONIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 7060-7070
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
There are several different abstract themes in science curricula, which are hard to understand for high school students. An animation is a powerful instructional device for visualizing abstract processes and helping to learn meaningfully. Mayer’s principles for the design of multimedia learning, which supports the cognitive theory of multimedia learning, should be followed when creating animations for teaching and learning. For assessing meaningful learning (and the cognitive effect of studied material) a flexible research instrument is needed – very often questionnaires provide the possibility to assess rough learning. That is the reason concept mapping method, open ended and multiple choice tests were used as research instruments in the studies.

The aim of subsequent studies was to find out the impact of voiced animation on students knowledge. Having observed the aim, different learning situations were compared where theme and learning materials were possibly identical. Studies ensued from each other and were built up from questions raised from previous study.

The main purposes of these studies were to examine:
1) How do animations influence students’ cognitive knowledge?
2) What kind of structure of knowledge do students have after they have studied the material:
a) individually from the voiced animation
b) individually from an illustrated paper based text
c) from the animation with teacher explanations (which was identical for the animation voice explanation)?
3) How does the structure of students’ mental modes change in a long-time (2.5 months) period?

All of the studies were carried out among high school students aged 17-19. Every time there was an examine group (studied personally from the animation or with a teacher from the animation) and a control group (studied personally from the paper based text). In every study students’ opinion was asked with an open ended questionnaire; pre- and post-test and concept maps (with given concepts) were created. The total number of participants was 168. The results of the first study were a surprise, because the analyses of pre- and post-learning knowledge tests were almost equal. Differences occurred when students’ pre- and post-learning concept maps were analysed. The expectation was that students, who had learned a new topic personally from an abstract animation, would give better answers to knowledge test and create higher scored concept maps than students, who had personally learned from the illustrated paper based text, but the results turned out vice versa. The same phenomenon repeated in other studies. Without using concept mapping, no such differences were seen in students’ knowledge after the learning process. The first two studies pointed out, that the structure of students’ knowledge depended more on the structure of animation than on the structure of paper-based text. The analysis of the third study revealed that there is no difference, whether the students have learned the new theme from the animation or from the paper-based text.

The studies with students involved pointed out that although students really like to learn from animations, teachers should know the methodology, how to use animations in their lessons so, that the impact on students’ meaningful learning would be the highest. Scientists, who examine the impact of the animation on students’ knowledge, should be careful when selecting the best research instrument and methodology.
Animation, chemistry, concept mapping, meaningful learning, visualization, abstract topic, paper based text.