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Effectiveness of Dynamic and Static Visualizations for Constructing a Deeper Understanding in the Natural Sciences

Multimodal Interaction


January 2007 - July 2011


Pact for Research and Innovation of the Competition Fond 2006 of the Leibniz-Association, Budget resources of KMRC


Visualizations are often used to enhance comprehension of complex and dynamic scientific content. It is, however, to a certain degree unclear what kind of visualization (e.g., dynamic vs. static) is most helpful under certain conditions.
Accordingly, a goal of this project was to investigate the instructional effectiveness of dynamic visualizations (i.e. animations) compared to static visualizations in illustrating dynamic scientific content – more precisely, in demonstrating the physical principles underlying fish locomotion.
Consequently, we considered learning characteristics and strategies occurring during learning with the help of such visualizations on the one hand and, moreover, the influence of different design principles of dynamic and static visualizations – also with respect to different learning objectives.

The doctoral project by Tim Kühl was part of the project "Resource-Adaptive Design of Visualizations for Supporting the Comprehension of Complex Dynamics in the Natural Sciences".


  • Kühl, T., Scheiter, K., Gerjets, P., & Edelmann, J. (2011). The influence of text modality on learning with static and dynamic visualizations. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, 29-35.
  • Kühl, T., Scheiter, K., Gerjets, P., & Gemballa, S. (2011). Can differences in learning strategies explain the benefits of learning from static and dynamic visualizations? Computers & Education, 56, 176-187.
  • Pfeiffer, V. D., Scheiter, K., Kühl, T., & Gemballa, S. (2011). Learning how to identify species in a situated learning scenario: Using dynamic-static visualizations to prepare students for their visit to the aquarium. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 7, 135-147