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Impact of graphic aids in electronic texts on learning Chinese radicals: Implications of the Dual Coding Theory

Purdue University
Publication Date
  • Education
  • Language And Literature|Education
  • Technology Of
  • Communication
  • Design


With the development of computer technology, computer learning environments pose particularly exciting and demanding situations for visual communication. While many studies were conducted on the effectiveness of static and animated graphics on learning sciences, little literature was known about the effectiveness of static and animated graphics on learning Chinese radicals that are pictures by nature in a computer learning environment.^ This study used a stratified posttest-only control group design involving five randomly assigned groups to explore the impact of graphic aids including single static graphics, gradient static graphics, and animated graphics (morphing) on students' learning Chinese radicals when used in conjunction with written prose in a computer learning environment. Based on the Dual Coding Theory, the study compared graphic aids with concrete verbal information that was used as a cue to help learners form mental images, intending to find out the most effective strategy to enhance learning. Five groups of learners received different treatments of (1) written prose with no cue, (2) written prose with cue, (3) written prose with single static graphic aids, (4) written prose with gradient static graphic aids and (5) written prose with animated graphic aids. All the five groups received instruction in a computer learning environment.^ For both content-related immediate and retention posttests, the results of one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated significant differences of the mean scores between the control group and the four experimental groups. Significant differences of the mean scores were found among some of the experimental groups in the retention posttest but not in the immediate posttest.^ The results suggest that the dual coding system worked best when the instruction was designed appropriately. The implications of the results for instructional practice and future research are also discussed. ^

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