Exploration vs. limitation: An investigation of instructional design techniques for spatial ability training on mobile devices

Michael Montag*, Sven Bertel, Bjorn B. de Koning, Steffi Zander

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Spatial abilities and thus mental rotation skills predict achievement in STEM domains. Thus, a wide range of studies investigated the possibilities and trainings of mental rotation skills. One prominent approach is using different digital tools and representation formats to foster spatial abilities. Thereby numerous studies analyzed effects of static in comparison to interactive dynamic representations of mental rotation tasks using different types of interactions. Although the use of dynamic representations is discussed critical regarding superficial information processing, there are no studies to date varying instructional techniques in interactive dynamic spatial trainings. In two studies we compared Limited Rotation training to non-limited Free Rotation training with high school students (Npilot = 21, Nmain = 66). Results after training show a superior effect of the limited compared to the non-limited training regarding the students’ success rate, but not their motivation and mental demand. Additionally analyzed process data show more efficient ways of task solving after limited rotation training indicated by reduced response time and rotation way accompanied by higher success rates in solving non-limited rotation tasks. Results of a pre-and-post-comparison of mental rotation skills indicate a higher increment after limited rotation training. Over-facilitating effects of dynamic representations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106678
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank everybody involved in the realization of these studies. Especially, we want to thank the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany for funding the project AuCity 2 (grant ID: 16DHB2131 ) AuCity 2 and accompanying the present studies as well as the schools cooperating with us – specifically the engaged teachers and students, who were part of the current studies. We also want to thank our assistants Stefanie and Marie for their help with data collection and data analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


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