Using visualizations to teach problem-solving skills in mathematics: Which kind of visualization works?

Abstract : In the experiment described in this paper we investigated the effects of different kinds of computer-based visualizations on the acquisition of problem-solving skills in the domain of probability theory. Learners received either purely text-based worked examples, text plus an instruction to mentally imagine the examples' contents, or they could retrieve either static pictures or concrete animations that depicted the problem statement and the problem states achieved by applying a specific solution step. It could be shown that frequently using static pictures or imagining the examples' contents both improved problem-solving performance on isomorphic problems. However, there were no positive effects of using animations. Rather, the frequent use of animations led to substantial increases in learning time, while it slightly decreased performance at the same time. Thus, the use of concrete animations to visualize solution procedures was more harming than helpful for conveying problem-solving skills.
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Katharina Scheiter, Peter Gerjets, Richard Catrambone. Using visualizations to teach problem-solving skills in mathematics: Which kind of visualization works?. First joint meeting of the EARLI SIGs "Instructional Design" and "Learning and Instruction with Computers", 2004, Tübingen, Germany. pp.256-268. ⟨hal-00197365⟩

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