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ERIC Number: EJ1045970
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: EISSN-1918-2902
Visual Literacy Skills of Students in College-Level Biology: Learning Outcomes Following Digital or Hand-Drawing Activities
Bell, Justine C.
Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, v5 n1 Article 6 2014
To test the claim that digital learning tools enhance the acquisition of visual literacy in this generation of biology students, a learning intervention was carried out with 33 students enrolled in an introductory college biology course. This study compared learning outcomes following two types of learning tools: a traditional drawing activity, or a learning activity on a computer. The sample was divided into two random groups. In the first intervention students learned how to draw and label a cell. Group 1 learned the material by computer and Group 2 learned the material by hand drawing. In the second intervention, students learned how to draw the phases of mitosis, and the two groups were inverted. After each learning activity, students were given a quiz, and were also asked to self-evaluate their performance in an attempt to measure their level of metacognition. At the end of the study, participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire that was used to measure the level of task engagement the students felt towards the two types of learning activities. The students who learned the material by drawing had a significantly higher average grade on the associated quiz compared to that of those who learned the material by computer. There were no other significant differences in learning outcomes between the two groups. This study provides evidence that drawing by hand is beneficial for learning biological images compared to learning the same material on a computer.
University of Western Ontario and Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Mills Memorial Library Room 504, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L6, Canada. Tel: 905-525-9140; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada