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The Effects of Visual Elements and Cognitive Styles on Students Learning in Hypermedia Environment

Authors: Rishi Ruttun


One of the major features of hypermedia learning is its non-linear structure, allowing learners, the opportunity of flexible navigation to accommodate their own needs. Nevertheless, such flexibility can also cause problems such as insufficient navigation and disorientation for some learners, especially those with Field Dependent cognitive styles. As a result students learning performance can be deteriorated and in turn, they can have negative attitudes with hypermedia learning systems. It was suggested that visual elements can be used to compensate dilemmas. However, it is unclear whether these visual elements improve their learning or whether problems still exist. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of students cognitive styles and visual elements on students learning performance and attitudes in hypermedia learning environment. Cognitive Style Analysis (CSA), Learning outcome in terms of pre and post-test, practical task, and Attitude Questionnaire (AQ) were administered to a sample of 60 university students. The findings revealed that FD students preformed equally to those of FI. Also, FD students experienced more disorientation in the hypermedia learning system where they depend a lot on the visual elements for navigation and orientation purposes. Furthermore, they had more positive attitudes towards the visual elements which escape them from experiencing navigation and disorientation dilemmas. In contrast, FI students were more comfortable, did not get disturbed or did not need some of the visual elements in the hypermedia learning system.

Keywords: Hypermedia learning, cognitive styles, visual elements, support, learning performance, attitudes and perceptions

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