Designing Effective E-Learning Environments - Should We Use Still Pictures, Animations or Interactivity?



There has been much research interest in the area of multimedia learning and using e-learning to assist student learning. A range of tools and teaching materials are used to develop students’ understanding in different domains. We have developed an online chemistry module with three different versions, designed to determine the most effective way for enhancing student learning and addressing misconceptions students may have. One version incorporates the use of still pictures, one version uses animations and simulations, and the final version uses animations and simulations together with interactivity. The present study investigated students’ perception of the modules and performance associated with using these different versions of the module. While students rated the animated and interactive versions of the module more highly than the one that had still pictures only, this did not translate to increased performance in associated tests.



Chemistry 1B


Chemistry 1 Life Sciences B


Chemistry A (Pharmacy)



The authors would like to thank all the students at the University of Sydney who participated in the study. Data collections described in this work were authorized by the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee (Project reference number 04–2007/9910). The WebCT helpdesk at the University of Sydney has also been of tremendous help in this process. The authors would finally like to thank the University of Sydney for providing funds towards the development of the online module


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ChemistryThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Education and Social WorkThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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