Chapter 7. Plan Graphics to Help Learners Build Mental Models


Learners construct new mental models by integrating content from the lesson with activated prior knowledge. A mental model is a memory structure that supports higher-order thinking tasks such as solving problems and making discriminations. Visuals that depict relationships are more effective to help learners build mental models than are visuals that simply represent content.

We call these relationship-building visuals explanatory graphics. In this chapter we present research, psychological rationale, and examples to support the following guidelines:

  • Use organizational visuals such as graphic organizers to show qualitative relationships among lesson content

  • Select and design ...

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