Building a Hypertextual Digital Library in the Humanities: A ...
Learning From Visualizations: Principles from Learning Science David N. Rapp University of Minnesota
What is a visualization? Novel presentation of data Can detail dynamic, salient relationships Can provide experience with the unobservable
Teach, organize, simulate How can visualizations influence learning processes?
Learning: The acquisition and application of knowledge. The goal of an educational experience is for students to develop an understanding of some
principle or concept, and to be able to apply that information to resolve an extended range of problems in a variety of situations. (Rapp, in press) Mental Models
a memory-based representation of some event or situation (Johnson-Laird, 1983) mental simulations (Kahneman & Tversky, 1982) integrates background knowledge with
immediate experience incomplete and reconstructive (Tversky, 1993) Theory and research supports the use of mental models in learning and comprehension:
Text (van Dijk & Kintsch, 1978) Film (Magliano, Dijkstra, & Zwaan, 1996)
Maps (Taylor & Tversky, 1996) Scientific models and principles (Gentner & Stevens, 1983) Animation of mechanical systems
(Hegarty, Just, & Morrison, 1988) Educational television programs (van den Broek, Pugzles-Lorch, & Thurlow, 1996) Health Advertisements (Southwell, 2002) Multimedia presentations
(Mayer, 2001) Hypermedia-based software & tools (Rapp, Taylor, & Crane, 2003) Learning across these diverse situations involves similar mental processes:
Encoding Retrieval/Activation of background knowledge Integration and simulation
What are some qualities of educational situations that facilitate the construction of mental models? Cognitive Engagement Participants active focus and attention to material
Increased motivation and involvement (Cordova & Lepper, 1996) Deeper cognitive processing of information (Craik & Lockhart, 1972; Craik & Tulving, 1975)
Interactivity Control over the pace of the learning situation Increased motivation and involvement (Cordova & Lepper, 1996) Permits personalization of the learning experience in accord with instructor and student goals
Iterative learning Multimedia Presentation Dual-coding of material (Paivio, 1969) Effectiveness as a function of modality, redundancy, individual differences (Mayer, 2001)
Congruence Principle (Morrison, Tversky, & Betrancourt, 2000) Engaging, motivating, novel All of these principles align with constructivist
views of learning. But to what degree can visualizations influence learning? Can visualization experiences facilitate the
construction of mental models? Engaging -must pair with guided activities Interactive
-must be interactive with respect to specific learning goals Multimedia Presentation -must carefully align with effective presentation principles
Future Challenges Additional study of effective educational features Collaboration to improve the use of visualizations in educational situations Empirical assessment of visualizations and
educational outcomes Designing visualizations for specific purposes and populations Conclusions Visualizations have the potential to influence
learning The Learning Sciences have assessed some of the effective components of learning situations Combining content-driven visualizations with principles of learning will lead to effective educational experiences
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