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e-Learning and the Science of Instruction by Richard E. Mayer, Ruth C. Clark

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CHAPTER 5 Applying the Contiguity Principle Align Words to Corresponding Graphics

CHAPTER SUMMARY

Sometimes in e-learning that uses on-screen text to explain graphics, a scrolling screen reveals the text, followed by the graphic further down the screen. When you scroll down to the graphic, the corresponding text has scrolled out of the window from above; when you scroll up to see the text, the corresponding graphic has scrolled out of the window from below. The result is a physical separation of the text and the graphic. Alternatively, audio narration may be presented before or after the graphics it describes. When you click on a speaker icon, you can hear a brief narration, and when you click on a movie icon, you can see a brief animation, but the narration and animation are separated in time. The result is a temporal separation of the words from the corresponding graphic. In this chapter we summarize the empirical evidence for learning gains resulting from presenting text and graphics in an integrated fashion (that is, placing printed words next to the part of the graphic they describe or presenting spoken words at the same time as a corresponding graphic), rather than from presenting the same information separately.

The psychological advantage of integrating text and graphics (in space or in time) results from a reduced need to search for which parts of a graphic correspond to which words, thereby allowing the user to devote limited cognitive resources to understanding ...

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