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An Investigation of Text-based Instructional Materials Enhanced with Graphics

McKay, E. (1999). An Investigation of Text-based Instructional Materials Enhanced with Graphics. Educational Psychology, 19(3), 323-335.

A total of 45 participants attended workshops to learn how to write PASCAL programs. All of the participants completed the CSA and their CSA-ratio was used to select pairs of similar CSA-ratios. One participant from each pair was given a text-only instructional booklet, while the other was given a text-plus-graphics instructional booklet. The treatment groups were controlled for instructional format (text-only/text-plus-graphics) and cognitive style. The independent variable were used to test for their effect on learning abstract computer programming concepts. It was found that the Verbal-Imagery cognitive style and instructional treatment interacted in their effect on the performance-difference scores. The Novice-Verbal programmers performed best with a text-plus-graphics instructional format, performing significantly better than the Novice-Imagers' subgroups using the same text-plus-graphics material. Conversely, the Novice-Imagers participants performed better with the material. However, the Experienced-Imagery participants performed better with the text-plus graphics instructional material than the Experienced-Verbalisers. Overall, the Verbalisers' worst performance occurred with the text-only materials, while their best performance occurred with the text-plus-graphics material. This pilot experiment suggests that learning performance is affected by an interaction of cognitive style and instructional format.