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Session Overview
Session 18: Learning with Media
Friday, 08/Sep/2017:
10:30am - 11:30am

Session Chair: Thorsten Göbel
Location: Room CIV 160

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The use of decorative pictures for designing digital learning media

Sascha Schneider1, Steve Nebel2, Maik Beege3, Günter Daniel Rey4

1Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany; 2Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany; 3Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany; 4Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany

Instructional designer use external representations such as pictures in order to represent, organize, explain or decorate a learning material. In the case of decorative pictures (e.g., photographs or illustrations), the aim is to make a learning material aesthetically appealing rather than to provide learning topic-related information. As such, these pictures are frequently considered as extraneous materials that impede learning by overloading the working memory capacities of learners. However, the category of decorative pictures varies in a huge amount of distinct factors related to the arrangement of such pictures or their content. By reviewing current empirical findings, several boundary conditions can be identified. In this talk, four of these moderators will be presented by a series of experiments. Two experiments (N1 = 81, N2 = 108) examine the effects of anthropomorphism, visible through human forms (with vs. without human faces) and the degree of personalization of picture labels (with vs. without personal addressing) for decorative pictures. Since the learning topic was about artificial intelligence, decorative pictures displayed robots in daily life but did not convey information according to the learning topic. Both experiments included measures on learning performance, as well as cognitive, affective and motivational impacts. Experiment 1 showed a significant increase of learning scores for both decorative pictures with human faces and highly personalized labels, while cognitive, motivational and affective measures significantly differed between groups. The second experiment additionally revealed learning advantages for anthropomorphic pictures (with human faces and personalized labels) in contrast to a control group without pictures. Based on cognitive-affective theories, the emotional charge and the degree of text-picture connectedness of decorative pictures will be shown as two other possible boundary conditions of decorative picture impacts. In order to test these moderators, three experiments (N3 = 108, N4 = 86, N5 = 162) with secondary (Experiment 3 and 5) or university (Experiment 4) students were conducted. For this, decorative pictures were tested in a 2 (positively vs. negatively charged) x 2 (weakly vs. strongly connected to the text) between-subjects design with an additional text-only condition. These pictures had been chosen consistent with a learning text about South Korea (Experiment 3 and 4) or the human body (Experiment 5). Measures of affective responses, cognitive processes, and learning performance were included. Both moderators were found to influence the learning performance, while decorative pictures with a strong connection to the learning topic of a text and a positive charge were shown to increase learning. In comparison with a text-only condition, positive pictures enhanced learning, while weakly connected, negative pictures impaired learning. Results can be explained by differences among the assessment of cognitive processes of learners. In conclusion, decorative pictures may be used in order to foster learning if boundary conditions like the degree of anthropomorphism, connectedness, and emotional charge are taken into account.

Fostering girls’ interest in technology by playing a serious game

Felix Kapp1, Steffi Heidig1, Pia J.C. Spangenberger2, Linda Kruse3, Susanne Narciss1

1Technische Universität Dresden, Germany; 2Technische Universität Berlin, Germany; 3The Good Evil, Germany

Serious Games have been found to be beneficial for learning and motivation (Wouters et al., 2013). Thus, they might be a promising approach in particular for promoting learners’ interest for topics for which the target group has low initial interest. Based on this background the serious game “Serena Supergreen” aims at increasing girls’ interest in technology. Serena Supergreen is a point-and-click adventure in which the player has to solve different quests from technical domains in order to advance in the game. The story is centred on Serena – a 15 year old girl – who wants to go on a vacation with her two best friends. The game was developed in an interdisciplinary approach combining expertise from game-designers, psychologists, vocational educators and experts in gender studies integrating various perspectives in the game design process (e.g. designing the non-player character as role models and developing story and graphics according to the girls preferences).

In order to foster the girls’ interest in technology and to strengthen their self-efficacy regarding technical tasks, the game has to provide opportunities to successfully solve technical challenges. Therefore instructional content from the field of renewable energy was chosen (e.g. technical characteristics of energy-saving lamp). The content was transformed into game challenges and integrated into the story (e.g. avatar has to change bulbs in a pet-shop in order to earn money and help the animals). Within the game the player receives interactive tutoring feedback (Narciss, 2013) provided by the environment, the avatar itself or the non-player character. The feedback supports the girls to solve the technical tasks by themselves and experience mastery.

We conducted a first evaluation study with forty-nine pupils (age 13-15, 24 girls) playing four technical challenges. The time was limited to 20 minutes. Pupils were asked to report their interest in technical tasks before and after playing the game. The post questionnaire furthermore requested them to state how they perceived the feedback within the game, if they would play the game until the end and to comment on the game.

Results state that there is a significant interaction effect with regard to interest in technical tasks. Boys reported a significant higher interest in technical tasks than girls before playing the game. In the post-questionnaire there were no differences between the two groups. Whereas the ratings of the boys were slightly more negative the girls motivation with regard to the tasks improved. Ninety-one percent of the pupils would play the game until the end either in their spare time or in a classroom setting. The results of the evaluation suggest that serious games can be used as a measure to foster girls’ interest in technology.

Narciss, S. (2013). Designing and evaluating tutoring feedback strategies for digital learning environments on the basis of the interactive tutoring feedback model. Digital Education Review, 23(1), 7–26.

Wouters, P., van Nimwegen, C., van Oostendorp, H., & van der Spek, E. D. (2013). A meta-analysis of the cognitive and motivational effects of serious games. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(2), 249–265.

Developing and testing a serious game for smokers

Julia Kneer1, Jeroen Jansz1, Michaël Bas2

1Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, The; 2amp;Ranj Serious Games

Nobody starts or keeps on smoking in order to damage health. Therefore, the positive outcomes for smoking are still more important than the negative ones and these positive outcomes have to be challenged. Most intervention programs still focus on the negative outcomes smoking has but do not attack the main reasons why someone started and keeps on smoking: social aspects (e.g., smoking in groups, being cool) and stress reduction. These motives need to be targeted in order to reduce the positive outcomes of smoking. In order to help smokers to quit smoking we developed and tested a serious game in which 1) positive effects of smoking are constantly attacked, 2) playing the game helps to distract from craving (“doing something else”), and 3) other ways to deal with stress and social aspects besides smoking are taught. The framework is based on research results concerning intervention programs (Glock & Kneer, 2009; Kneer, Glock, & Rieger, 2012; Kneer & Glock, 2008). The talk will focus on the development of the game, the results concerning effectiveness, and the challenges and opportunities that came along with the project.

The main study included 30 native Dutch smokers aged between 18 and 30. First, participants were asked about demographics, nicotine dependence (Heathertin, Kozlowski, Frecker, & Fagerstrom, 1991), affect via the Affect Grid (Russell, Weiss, & Mendelsohn, 1989), and specific mood (translated from German to Dutch; Hampel, 1977). Afterwards, participants’ cognitive dissonance towards stress and social interaction was recorded for the first time.

After the game session both participants filled in the second questionnaire which contained the success question and for the second time, affect and specific mood questions. In addition, enjoyment (Reinecke et al., 2012) and intrinsic needs satisfaction (Ryan, Rigby, & Przybylski, 2006) was assessed as well as cognitive dissonance for the second time. After 24 hours all participants were called and asked how many cigarettes they have smoked.

Analyses showed that the game had no effect on any mood assessment. However, linear regression analyses with enjoyment and intrinsic need satisfaction as predictors and cognitive dissonance as criteria revealed that immersion (standardized β = .72) and autonomy (standardized β = - .78) had significant impact but only on cognitive dissonance concerning social interaction, R2adj = .11, p < .05. In addition, backwards regression including game experience scales and cognitive dissonance towards social interaction showed that cognitive dissonance is the main predictor for actual smoking behaviour within the next 24 hours (standardized β = - .47). The more participants developed cognitive dissonance through the game, the fewer cigarettes they smoked the day after, R2adj = .19, p < .05. Considering that smoking is used as coping strategy to release from stress and to simplify social interaction, the game was already working by establishing cognitive dissonance towards smoking related social situations when played in only one single session.

Multimedia learning: What are the effects on learning of viewing or generating an outline while studying?

Tiphaine Colliot, Éric Jamet

Université Rennes 2 Haute Bretagne, France


When learning from a multimedia document, learners need to engage in three different cognitive processes which are selecting relevant information, organizing it into a coherent mental representation and integrating it with their prior knowledge (Mayer, 2014). One way to facilitate these processes is to add an aid to the multimedia document such as an outline with the main information and the hierarchical relations between the presented concepts that show the inner structure of the document (e.g., Lorch and Lorch, 1996). Besides, according to activity theory, making students self-generate an outline should encourage generating processing as it promotes the use of these processes thereby enhancing their learning performance (see Stull and Mayer, 2007). However, constructing an outline could also be too demanding a task for it would impact student’s learning negatively (cognitive load theory, Sweller, 1994).


83 psychology undergraduate students participated in this study and were randomly assigned to one of the four conditions. Learners were presented with a multimedia document only (control group, n = 20) or accompanied with a provided-outline that remained constant throughout the document (static group, n = 20) or one that appeared step-by step alongside the document (sequential group, n = 21). The fourth group had to generate an outline while reading (self-generated group, n = 22). The learner-paced document consisted of illustrated explanatory texts dealing with memory systems and their brain location. The time spent on the document was collected. Learning was assessed with a retention test about both the macrostructure and the microstructure of the document and also with a transfer test.


The conducted anova revealed a significant main effect of conditions on students’ performance regarding the retention test – macrostructure (F (3, 79) = 4.128, p = .009), microstructure (F (3, 7) = 4.204, p = .008) – and the transfer test (F (3, 79) = 4.772, p = .004). On each of these learning measures, analyses indicated that the sequential group obtained significantly higher scores compared to both the control group and the self-generated group with no difference between these two last groups.


The obtained results have shown that viewing an author-provided outline appearing step-by-step alongside the multimedia document while studying significantly improved students’ performance compared to a group studying the same document without the provided-outline (control group). This was shown not only on the retention test but also on the transfer test. This is consistent with prior researches which have shown that outlines are great aids for students. Besides, the sequential group also significantly outperformed the self-generated group on the retention test and the transfer test. We can suppose that the generative task has been too difficult and increased the cognitive load induced by the document.

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