Effects of visual grouping strategies of computer-animated presentations on selective attention in science

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The effects of visual grouping strategies involving animated and static graphic presentations on selective attention were studied. Also studied was the ability of students to learn a scientific rule presented incidentally in an animated sequence. A total of 39 fourth-graders participated in an introductory lesson on Newton's laws of motion. Two levels of Visual Presentation (Static Graphic, Animated Graphic) were crossed with two levels of Visual Grouping (Grouped, Ungrouped). A within-subjects factor consisted of two levels of Learning Intent (Intentional, Incidental).

Results showed that students given animated presentations of lesson content outperformed students receiving static presentations, but only when the animated lesson frames were presented in groups, or “chunks,” of textual and visual sequences. Results also showed that students were able to successfully extract information pertaining to an application of Newton's second law incidentally presented in animated sequences. These latter results replicate earlier findings.