Publication Details

de Koning, B. B., Rop, G. & Paas, F. (2020). Effects of spatial distance on the effectiveness of mental and physical integration strategies in learning from split-attention examples. Computers in Human Behavior, 110 106379-1-106379-8.


Learning from spatially separated text and pictures is improved when learners are instructed to use a physical or mental integration strategy. This study investigated whether varying the spatial distance between text and pictures affects the effectiveness of physical and mental integration strategies. We hypothesized that a larger spatial distance would increase cognitive load and harm learning. Ninety-two university students studied the functioning of an electrical circuit from text and pictures that were presented at a small or large spatial distance from each other, while using a physical or mental integration strategy during learning. Results indicated that participants using the mental integration strategy obtained higher recall scores than participants using the physical integration strategy, but no differences were found for comprehension, transfer, and cognitive load. No effects of spatial distance were found. More research is needed to investigate to what extent spatial distance influences learning with mental and physical integration strategies.



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