User-Controllable Animated Diagrams: The Solution for Learning Dynamic Content?

  • Richard Lowe
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2980)


A potential educational advantage of animated diagrams over static depictions is their capacity to provide explicit external representation of temporal changes that occur in dynamic subject matter [1]. However, animations are not necessarily better for learners [2]. One possible reason is a mismatch between a specific animation’s presentational characteristics and a particular learner’s processing capacity [c.f. 3]. For example, if the animation’s playing speed is too high, the learner may miss some key aspects of the content. User control has been suggested as a possible way to address such mismatch problems [4]. The assumption here is that the learner regulates the animation’s playing regime in ways that present information relevant to the task at hand in an appropriate fashion. In the previous example, this would involve reducing the animation’s speed so that key aspects could be readily extracted. Current computer-based animation systems can provide users with extensive control over speed and various other characteristics of animations. Unfortunately, the provision of user control does not always result in the desired learning improvements [5].


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Lowe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EducationCurtin University of Technology 

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