The effects of graphical overviews on knowledge acquisition in hypertext


Jong, T. de and Hulst, A. van der (2002) The effects of graphical overviews on knowledge acquisition in hypertext. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 18 (2). pp. 219-231. ISSN 0266-4909

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Abstract:A central aspect of designing hypertext for learning concerns the structure of the information in the hypertext and the view the learner is offered of this structure. In this study, a hypertext environment was enhanced with a graphical overview that represented the basic, inherent, structure of the domain and the layout was designed in such a way that learners were unobtrusively encouraged to follow a sequence of exploration that followed the domain structure. This so-called ‘visual’ lay-out was compared with two lay-outs that presented randomly positioned nodes. One of these two lay-outs contained hints (using ‘highlighting’) to stimulate learners to follow a domain related exploration similar to the one incorporated in the visual lay-out. The other (‘control’) lay-out did not provide such hints. Results showed that participants from both the ‘visual’ and the ‘hints’ conditions demonstrated a more domain-related exploration pattern than participants from the ‘control’ condition. Participants in the ‘visual’ lay-out did not show a better recall of the content of the nodes as such, but showed a significantly better acquisition of knowledge of structure than participants from the other two conditions. These data indicate that a visual display conveys knowledge in its own right and that knowledge gained does not depend on the exploration route followed in the hypertext material.
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Copyright:© 2002 Blackwell
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS)
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