Factors Influencing Learners' Cognitive and Affective Processes in Visual Learning

Factors Influencing Learners' Cognitive and Affective Processes in Visual Learning

Robert Z. Zheng (University of Utah, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5332-8.ch010


This chapter focuses on the cognitive and affective factors that may influence learners' performance in visual learning. Both cognitive and affective factors were identified with cognitive factors aiming to reduce cognitive load, making meaningful learning through schema connection and activation. The affective factors focused on meeting the psychological and self-fulfillment needs in visual learning. Discussions were made on the implications of the chapter in terms of supporting professionals and educators in their design of effective visual learning in education.
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Visualization: A Cognitive Perspective

As discussed early there are mixed views on the role of visualization including the benefits associated with visualization in learning. Some believe it is the instructional methods that promote learning, others argue that media such as visual representations facilitate active, constructive, cognitive and social process as the attributes of the media enable learners to strategically manage cognitive, physical, and social resources in the learning process (Clark, 1994; Jonassen, Compbell, & Davidson, 1994; Kozma, 1994; Reiser, 1994). Reiser (1994) pointed out, “certain media attributes make certain methods possible” (Reiser, 1994, p. 45). He further added, “the successful delivery of instructional methods … is dependent, in part, on the attributes of the medium…” (Reiser, 1994, p.45). Reiser explicated the cognitive role of media showing that visuals can significantly enhance the function of instructional strategy and that in many situations instructional strategy may not even be able to accomplish its goals without visuals. In the following sections we thereby examine the cognitive function of visuals with case studies showing how visuals support learners’ learning.

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