Journal of Computing in Higher Education

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 31–61 | Cite as

Design factors for educationally effective animations and simulations

  • Jan L. PlassEmail author
  • Bruce D. Homer
  • Elizabeth O. Hayward


This paper reviews research on learning from dynamic visual representations and offers principles for the design of animations and simulations that assure their educational effectiveness. In addition to established principles, new and revised design principle are presented that have been derived from recent research. Our review focuses on the visual design and interaction design of these visualizations and presents existing research as well as questions for future inquiry.


Simulation Animation Visualization Design Science Learning Cognition 



The research presented in this paper was supported in part by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education (DoEd) through Grant R305K050140 to New York University, and by Microsoft Research through a grant to the NYU Games for Learning Institute. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES, DoEd, or Microsoft, nor does any mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or by the Microsoft Corporation.


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Copyright information

© US Government  2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan L. Plass
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bruce D. Homer
    • 2
  • Elizabeth O. Hayward
    • 1
  1. 1.CREATE–Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technologies in EducationNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Graduate CenterThe City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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