Supplementing floundering text with adjunct displays

Kenneth A. Kiewra, Douglas F. Kauffman, Daniel H. Robinson, Nelson F. Dubois, Richard K. Staley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Three experiments compared the learning potential of text versus outline and matrix displays. In Experiments 1 and 2, college students read or heard a passage about fish and then studied the text, an outline, or a matrix. In Experiment 3, students heard a passage about wildcats, and then studied text, outline, or matrix displays. In all experiments, the text, outline, and matrix formats were informationally equivalent. However, the two-dimensional matrix appeared more computationally efficient than the linear organized text or outline because it (a) positioned related information about fish or wildcats in closer proximity so that local relations within a single category (such as "size") were learned, and (b) organized information spatially so that global relations across categories (such as size and diet) were learned. The learning potential of text, outline, and matrix displays was also examined in combination with variations in thematic organization, amount of study time, and time of testing. The most important and consistent findings were that (a) outline and matrix displays produced greater relational learning than the text, and (b) matrix displays produced greater relational learning than outlines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-401
Number of pages29
JournalInstructional Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999


  • Graphic organizers
  • Spatial representations
  • Text learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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