Effects of instruction colour and learner empathy on aesthetic appreciation of Chinese poetry

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Instructional Science


In this study, we investigated whether a colourful design would foster the aesthetic appreciation of Chinese classic poetry, and the role of learners’ empathy trait in this process. Middle school students (N = 159) were assigned to one of four conditions in a 2 (Colour Design: Colourful vs. Grayscale) × 2 (Empathy Trait: High vs. Low) between-subject design. Results showed that learners with high empathy attained higher scores on comprehension test and aesthetic appreciation ratings than learners with low empathy. Moreover, a significant interaction of the two factors on aesthetic emotion and evaluations ratings was found, indicating that aesthetic ratings were higher in the high empathy group than in the low empathy group with grayscale learning materials, whereas aesthetic ratings were comparable between the two groups with the colourful design. The results indicated that a colourful design can foster low empathy learners’ aesthetic appreciation, and suggested that individual differences should be taken into consideration in instructional design in the multimedia learning of poetry.

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