The effects of using different types of multimedia presentations on Thai seventh-grade learners' understanding of a social studies text
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As computers have become more powerful and cheaper, education has increased use of multimedia for learning. Despite research, questions concerning multimedia's impact on learning remain. The purpose of this study was to compare Thai seventh graders' comprehension of a social studies text on local history using four multimedia formats - written text only (W), written text with graphics (WG), audio with graphics (AG), and written text with audio and graphics (WAG). A posttest I - posttest II quasi-experimental design was used to gather comprehension data. There were 132 seventh-grade participants (85 female and 47 male). A questionnaire gathered demographic data and assessed the participants' computer usage and behavior. The paper-based comprehension posttest consisted of 20 multiple-choice questions. One-way ANOVA showed that participants in the W group scored significantly higher than the other groups on the immediate posttest, and they spent less time completing the learning task. The WAG group, however, scored significantly higher than the other groups on the delayed posttest. The number of times learners accessed help was not significantly different among the groups. Two-way ANOVA indicated that gender and the num ber of years participants had studied local history did not interact and showed no significant main effects. Correlation showed that longer time to completion was associated with higher test scores on the immediate posttest but not on the delayed posttest. The number of times participants accessed help and the num ber of visits to a temple diagram page were associated with higher scores on both tests. More use of help was associated with more visits to the temple diagram. Students who used more help and viewed the diagram page more often took less time to complete the learning task. The findings suggest that pattern recognition and cognitive load may have contributed to higher test scores in the W group on the immediate posttest. The results add support for dual coding theory and cognitive multimedia learning theory. Findings show that multimedia benefits younger students using a language other than English and content other than science, especially low-prior-knowledge learners.