Use of Animation as a Supplementary Learning Material of Physiology Content
Refereed conference paper presented and published in conference proceedings


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AbstractDynamic concepts are difficult to explain in traditional media. Animations seem to have the advantage of delivering better representations of these concepts. A wide range of subject areas such as chemistry and computer sciences are currently using animation to demonstrate their course contents (e. g. Kehoe, Stasko and Taylor, 2001; Payne, Chesworth and Hill, 1992; Dyck, 1995; Harrison, 1995; Tversky and Morrison, 2001). Lowe (2004) suggested that animations have the potential to serve both affective function and cognitive function. Affective function refers to portraying things in a humorous, spectacular, or bizarre way so that learners will be attracted to pay attention on the learning materials and motivated to learn. Cognitive function refers to the clear presentation of dynamic matters (which might be abstract and difficult) that can allow learners to understand in an easier way. Compared with static images and text, animations can present procedural information (e. g. biochemical reaction steps, physiological activities) more explicitly as they show the steps in detail. Quite a few empirical studies showed promising results animations have on learning (e. g. Trevisan, Oki and Senger, 2009; Hays, 1996). There are, however, also limitations. Designing and developing quality animations for teaching and learning can be challenging (Morrison, Tversky and Betrancourt, 2000). Kesner and Linzey (2005) even found no improvement on students' learning in using animations in their study. It thus occurs to the researchers that there are factors that govern successful use of animation in teaching and learning. The present study explored such factors in the context of medical teaching. About 600 students in eight different classes (collected over two years) in the same physiology course learned complicated molecular processes with assistance from animations provided as supplementary materials primarily for self-study. Surveys and group interviews were conducted that provided both qualitative and quantitative feedback. Results were mostly positive - animations surely explain contents more explicitly to students (especially for the explanation of dynamic and complicated biological processes), make students more interested; and there is a greater demand for similar learning tools from the students. It is strongly believed that animations are good supplementary learning materials for students particularly for learning of complicated concepts. Important success factors we found included the detailed explanation of content, a good balance between clear presentation and beautiful interface, the speed of running/loading of the animations, and the selection of topics. However, we also found that animations cannot replace the existing lectures and traditional media - many students sequenced their learning activities in this way: read notes first to get a rough picture of concepts and the definition of terms, view animation, and lastly followed by reading text books. Many students prefer traditional learning media to animations for serious learning. Provision of good text is essential to in-depth learning of the subject matter. Animations may be a good starting point for students but they are not the end points.
All Author(s) ListHwang I, Tam M, Lam SL, Lam P
Name of Conference7th International Conference on eLearning
Start Date of Conference21/06/2012
End Date of Conference22/06/2012
Place of ConferenceHong Kong
Country/Region of ConferenceChina
Year2012
Month1
Day1
PublisherACAD CONFERENCES LTD
Pages141 - 149
eISBN978-1-908272-44-7
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
Keywordsadvantage of animation in teaching; supplementary use of animation; teaching dynamic physiology process
Web of Science Subject CategoriesEducation & Educational Research

Last updated on 2020-17-09 at 01:22