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ERIC Number: EJ1055892
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0663
Successful Learning with Multiple Graphical Representations and Self-Explanation Prompts
Rau, Martina A.; Aleven, Vincent; Rummel, Nikol
Journal of Educational Psychology, v107 n1 p30-46 Feb 2015
Research shows that multiple external representations can significantly enhance students' learning. Most of this research has focused on learning with text and 1 additional graphical representation. However, real instructional materials often employ multiple "graphical" representations (MGRs) in addition to text. An important open question is whether the use of MGRs leads to better learning than a single "graphical" representation (SGR) when the MGRs are presented separately, 1-by-1 across consecutive problems, accompanied by text and numbers. A further question is whether providing support for students to relate the different representations to the key concepts that they depict can enhance their benefit from MGRs. We investigated these questions in 2 classroom experiments that involved problem solving practice with an intelligent tutoring system for fractions. Based on 112 sixth-grade students, Experiment 1 investigated whether MGRs lead to better learning outcomes than 1 commonly used SGR, and whether this effect can be enhanced by prompting students to self-explain key concepts depicted by the graphical representations. Based on 152 fourth-and fifth-grade students, Experiment 2 investigated whether the advantage of MGRs depends on the specific representation chosen for the SGR condition because prior research suggests that some SGRs might promote learning more than others. Both experiments demonstrate that MGRs lead to better conceptual learning than an SGR, provided that students are supported in relating graphical representations to key concepts. We extend research on multiple external representations by demonstrating that MGRs (presented in addition to text and 1-by-1 across consecutive problems) can enhance learning.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: REESE-21851-1-1121307; SBE-0354420
IES Cited: ED565884