Does modality play a role? Visual-verbal cognitive style and multimedia learning

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The study presented in this paper aimed to examine the effect of visual and verbal cognitive style on learning from different types of visualization and modalities of explanatory text. Learning materials in the form of either computer-based animation or a series of static pictures with written or spoken explanations were presented to 197 students. We found that a more developed visual cognitive style was related to a better learning outcome, when learning from a combination of static pictures and written text. Higher developed visualizers achieved poorer learning outcomes when learning with an animation and written text. The results are partially in line with an ability-as-compensator effect and the expertise reversal effect. Additionally, we found a modality effect as the versions with spoken text provided better results on learning outcome than the versions with written text regardless of the prominence of visual cognitive style. No significant interaction effects were found regarding verbal cognitive style.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)747-757
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (grant no. HO 4303/6-1).

    Research areas

  • ability-as-compensator effect, animation, cognitive style, modality effect, static pictures, visualizer
  • Psychology