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The Impact of Design in Diagrams on Reading Behavior and Learning

Langer, E.I. (2011) The Impact of Design in Diagrams on Reading Behavior and Learning.

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Abstract:Diagram’s superiority compared to written descriptions lies in its ability to structure and summarize information, and to make relations between concepts and ideas readily clear. Expanded by perceptual cues like arrows, boxes or lines diagrams serve both thinking and communicating. Unfortunately, research on effects of such specific design elements like arrows in (matrix) diagrams is rare and all too often are practitioners forced to rely on their intuition and experience while making layout decisions to promote learning and convey meaning in the way intended. The purpose of this study is twofold. First, it is going to be examined if learners do follow arrows while studying a matrix diagram. Second, it is going to be investigated if the way in which learners study a matrix diagram has any impact on recall. For this purpose, eye-tracking technique will be used combined with a knowledge test and a short interview. The results showed that participants did not follow the arrows in their traversal of the diagram. If anything, arrows served initial orientation. Participants which read the diagram per category also performed better on the post-test questions focusing on categories, corroborating prior research that reading order can have influence on learning performance (i.e. recall).
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/61307
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