The effects of self-pacing versus system-pacing were examined in different versions of a computer-based learning environment (static pictures/animations). The role of cognitive style was also considered. While the variables investigated did not have a direct impact on either learning outcome or cognitive load, significant interaction effects were found. Concerning the difference between self- and system-pacing, results suggested that for animations, self-pacing was – as expected – effective, while for static pictures, the opposite was true. With respect to the difference between animations and static pictures, analyses showed that learners tending toward a visual cognitive style learned significantly better with animations than with static pictures. For learners tending toward a verbal style, learning outcomes were descriptively better with static pictures, although in that case the difference between animations and static pictures did not reach significance. The results indicate that self-pacing as a feature of learning environments is not universally advantageous, and highlight the importance of considering the role of individual learning differences such as cognitive style when choosing or developing computer-based learning environments. The findings are discussed considering contemporary theories of cognitive load and multimedia learning.
Original languageEnglish
JournalComputers & Education
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)1716-1726
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2011
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    Research areas

  • Self-pacing, Cognitive style, Instructional animation, Interactive learning environments, Cognitive load

ID: 16624