Does the Visual Appeal of Instructional Media Affect Learners’ Motivation Toward Learning?
While authors like Mayer (2009) suggest that designers should avoid using visuals for the purpose of attracting learners’ interests, some scholars suggest that visuals could influence learners’ emotions. In this study the author investigated whether the perception of the visual appeal of instructional handouts affects learners’ self-reported motivation to learn from the handouts. Two handouts were prepared for this study: a minimalist handout following Mayer’s (2009) Coherence Principle and an appealing handout complying with everyday visual trends. Participants were instructed to look at the handouts in different orders according to groups and were asked about their impressions of the handouts. The appealing handout was perceived as motivating when it was seen after the minimalist handout. However, the group that saw the minimalist handout first did not perceive the appealing handout as motivating. The result implies that not only the design but also the learning context influences learners’ self-reported motivation to engage with the handout.
KeywordsAesthetics Cognitive load theory Cognitive theory of multimedia learning Instructional media Motivation Visual appeal Visual design
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