The role of spatial ability in learning from instructional animations - Evidence for an ability-as-compensator hypothesis

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In two experiments, the role of spatial ability in learning from an instructional animation versus a series of static pictures was studied. In both experiments, a statistical interaction of spatial ability and type of visualization was obtained: Low-spatial ability students showed poor learning outcome when learning from pictures while high-spatial students did not; when learning from animation, however, learning outcome was independent from spatial ability. The results are in line with an ability-as-compensator hypothesis which states that constructing mental animations from non-dynamic materials needs spatial ability; with animated learning materials, however, spatial ability is not required. No overall differences between static pictures and animation were found.

Original languageEnglish
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.2011
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Instructional animation, Interaction, Spatial ability, Static pictures, Visualization
  • Psychology