Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Andrew McGregor Olney

Committee Member

Mark Conley

Committee Member

Art Graesser

Committee Member

Natalie Kay Person


While much is known about how certain types of images influence learning in multimedia educational systems, comparatively little work has been done on how different image types compare to each other in terms of the types of knowledge conveyed and transfer of knowledge. Two popular types of media found in many multimedia environments, pictures and concept maps, are capable of blending verbal information (such as in picture labels or node/link labels) and visual information (such as structural information) into a single image, which may result in increased exposure to vocabulary (improving learning) or may create split attention (decreasing learning). Both types can also be presented using animation techniques, although questions remain as to whether animation always improves learning in different kinds of media. This study explores media differences and animation techniques in two experiments, both of which utilize Khan Academy lessons as the basis for the multimedia presentation. In the first experiment, a 2x2 between-subjects design was utilized to examine different media types (labeled pictures vs. concept maps) and animation (animated vs. static). The results of this study indicate that animation improves relational knowledge and free recall scores, but an animation x media type interaction indicates that animated pictures are not very effective for conveying conceptual knowledge. In Study 2, a 2x2 between-subjects experiment dove deeper into the function of "labels" by examining how animation (animated vs. static) and labels (present vs. absent) interact, as both may be attention directing devises. It was found that animation and prior knowledge both had consistent effects on learning, where those with high prior knowledge did not gain as much from viewing an animated presentation as those with low prior knowledge did, but labels had minimal effects on learning. In all, research indicates that different media should be used depending on the educational goals, animation may be particularly helpful for low prior knowledge students, and labels are not necessarily helpful for learning when the same information is presented orally.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.