Is too much help an obstacle? Effects of interactivity and cognitive style on learning with dynamic versus non-dynamic visualizations with narrative explanations

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


The aim of this study was to investigate the role of visual/verbal cognitive style and interactivity level in dynamic and non-dynamic multimedia learning environments. A group of 235 biology students learned about photosynthesis either from a computer-based animation or a series of static pictures with spoken explanatory text. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: with or without the possibility to pause, to play, or to fast-forward/rewind the learning environment (self-paced versus system-paced condition). Participants obtained better results when learning with the system-paced environment than with the self-paced one. A significant triple interaction between cognitive style, type of pacing, and type of visualization showed that highly developed visualizers learned poorer with self-paced static pictures than with system-paced static pictures. There were no significant effects regarding verbal cognitive style. Results shed more light on the relation between different levels of interactivity and visual cognitive style, when learning from static pictures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Technology Research and Development
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)2971-2990
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 12.2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Open access funding provided by Linköping University. This study was funded by the German Research Foundation (Grant No. HO 4303/6-1). Acknowledgements

    Research areas

  • Animation, Cognitive styles, Interactive learning environments, Interactivity level, Static pictures
  • Psychology