ERIC Number: ED335014
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Effects on Concretely versus Abstractly Illustrated Instruction on Learning Abstract Concepts.
Smith, Margaret Ann; Smith, Patricia L.
Traditionally, illustrations used in instruction have been concrete in nature with the learning outcome not always considered in the design of the illustrations. This study investigated whether concrete or abstract illustrations were more effective for supporting acquisition of abstract concepts in print media when evaluated by immediate and delayed testing. The 52 subjects, who were junior and senior teacher education students enrolled in an instructional design and development course, were randomly assigned to one of three study groups: no illustrations, concrete illustrations, and abstract illustrations. The researcher-developed materials used were three versions of a print-based lesson teaching the four categories within the intellectual skills domain of Gagne's domains of learning outcomes. Subjects were given descriptions of learning tasks and asked to identify which of the intellectual skills each task represented, i.e., discrimination, concept, rule, or problem solving. Materials for the abstract illustration group contained abstract representations of these four classifications, while materials for the concrete illustration group contained representations of "the best example" of the concept. The best example was also explained verbally in the text used by all three groups. The lesson design followed Gagne's nine events of instruction. The instruments for both the immediate posttest and the delayed posttest, which covered only the textual materials, consisted of parallel forms of questions assessing the classification of examples of each of the four learning tasks. Although no significant differences were found between the three groups, the gain from the immediate posttest to the delayed posttest showed that the abstract visuals tended to increase retention to a greater degree than the concrete visuals. (14 references) (Author/BBM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Printed Materials
Note: In: Proceedings of Selected Research Presentations at the Annual Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology; see IR 015 132.