Variation in external representations as part of the classroom lecture:An investigation of virtual cell animations in introductory photosynthesis instruction*

Eric E. Goff, Katie M. Reindl, Christina Johnson, Phillip McClean, Erika G. Offerdahl, Noah L. Schroeder, Alan R. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The use of external representations (ERs) to introduce concepts in undergraduate biology has become increasingly common. Two of the most prevalent are static images and dynamic animations. While previous studies comparing static images and dynamic animations have resulted in somewhat conflicting findings in regards to learning outcomes, the benefits of each have been shown individually. Using ERs developed by the Virtual Cell Animation project, we aim to further investigate student learning using different ERs as part of an introductory biology lecture. We focus our study on the topic of photosynthesis as reports have noted that students struggle with a number of basic photosynthesis concepts. Students (n = 167) in ten sections of introductory biology laboratory were introduced to photosynthesis concepts by instructional lectures differing only in the format of the embedded ERs. Normalized gain scores were calculated, showing that students who learned with dynamic animations outperformed students who learned from static images on the posttest. The results of this study provide possible instructional guidelines for those delivering photosynthesis instruction in the introductory biology classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-234
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Keywords

  • Animation
  • external representations
  • introductory biology
  • photosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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