Progression in Multiple Representations: Supporting students' learning with multiple representations in a dynamic simulation-based learning environment

Abstract : Relating multiple representations and translating between them is important to acquire deeper knowledge about a domain. To relate representations, learners have to mentally search for similarities and differences. To translate between representations, learners need to interpret the effects that changes in one representation have on corresponding representations. The question is how presenting representations may improve or hinder the processes of relation and translation. In this study we examined the effect of sequencing dynamic representations on learning outcomes. Two versions of the same simulation-based learning environment, that of the physics topic of moments, were compared: a learning environment providing the representations step-by-step (experimental condition) and a learning environment providing All representations at once (control condition). The subjects were 120 students from secondary vocational education (aged 15 to 21). Overall, we found the subjects learned from working in the learning environment; the post-test scores on the domain and understanding items were significantly better than the pre-test scores. This was true for both the subjects with and without prior knowledge on the domain. Moreover, the subjects with prior knowledge scored significantly better on both the pre-test and the post-test compared to the subjects without prior knowledge. Despite our expectations, no differences were found between the two experimental conditions. The subjects learned equally well regardless of the way in which the representations were presented. Also, the extent to which the subjects' experienced complexity of both the topic and the learning environment did not differ between the experimental conditions.
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Jan van der Meij, Ton de Jong. Progression in Multiple Representations: Supporting students' learning with multiple representations in a dynamic simulation-based learning environment. The EARLI SIG “Text and Graphics Comprehension” Bi-annual meeting 2006, 2006, Nottingham, United Kingdom. pp.16. ⟨hal-00190273⟩

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