Influence of Audio-Visual Presentations on Learning Abstract Concepts

By Lai, Shu-Ling | International Journal of Instructional Media, Spring 2000 | Go to article overview

Influence of Audio-Visual Presentations on Learning Abstract Concepts


Lai, Shu-Ling, International Journal of Instructional Media


PURPOSES AND OBJECTIVES

Previous research (1) indicates that without audio, presenting abstract concepts with static graphics could help novice learners understand more than presenting through text (control) or dynamic formats. On the basis of the initial findings, this study further incorporates the audio instruction into the teaching process to see if the integration of redundant audio will affect the results. The hypotheses are stated in this way:

1. Does the degree of visual (text, static, or dynamic) presentation with audio instruction produce any difference in learning performance?

2. Does the degree of visual presentation with audio instruction produce any difference in attitude toward the computer-based program?

3. Does the degree of visual presentation with audio instruction produce any difference in time to complete the computer-based program?

PERSPECTIVES AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

Recent advancements in computer technology have allowed the educator to incorporate text, visual, and sounds resources into a rich computer mediated program. However, relatively little research in the use of audio-visual presentation instruction has been conducted that might assist the multimedia producer in using visuals and sound effectively and efficiently (1-4). The effectiveness of multimedia as an instructional medium is based on Paivio's (5) dual coding theory. Paivio's theory assumes that memory and cognition are served by two separate symbolic systems, verbal information and visual image. Paivio (6) defines visual image as nonverbal memory of concrete objects or events, and distinguishes visual image from information verbal which relates to speech or a language system (6). Although each system can function independently, most processing involves connections and reinforcement between the two.

Visual image can be presented in many forms to illustrate an abstract concept. The use of static and dynamic graphics are frequently incorporated into a computer-based program to make the concept and idea more comprehensible and memorable (1, 3, 7,8). Literature suggests that different presentation strategies should be considered to help novice learners capture the central concepts of the graphics, such as dissecting procedural tasks into small pieces or presenting sequential change step by step (9-11). Modern technology allows computers to easily generate animation and dynamic illustration that allows learners to mentally construct connections for processing information (12, 13). The increased availability of multimedia elements also permits the design of instructional programs that incorporate unlimited variations and forms of verbal and visual information for presentation (14).

However, research on the other hand, also suggests that the use of dynamic visuals might lead to misconceptions due to the fact that the to be learned concepts are often oversimplified (3, 15). To help students gain the correct concepts, the graphics should explicitly identify relevant elements in the teaching process. Even when instructional illustrations are presented thoroughly, learners using educational software tend to ignore or forget to read important instructions presented in textual or other visual display (16-18). Good instructional design should invite students to observe and associate from different dimensions, such as temporal sound or audio (17).

The recent literature (16, 17,19, 20) suggests adding audio to enhance educational software. In many dual-media presentations, such as computer-based learning (CBL), speech is used on the sound track to describe or explain the visual image (21).

Audio elements can gain and maintain attention throughout a multimedia program (22, 23). Audio is also preferred when it is necessary to direct the viewers attention to details of the visual. Audio also influences the pace of visual presentation. Auditory instruction can establish a fast pace or a slow pace to compliment the visual (23). …

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