The effects of flow diagrams and texts with instructive questions on learning verbal chains

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


This study examined the ways in which diagrams and texts were used to teach verbal chains and other forms of cyclical information. One hundred twenty-nine college students were randomly assigned to one of four stimulus treatments and a comprehension test. The four treatments conditions were: Text Only (Control), Diagram Only, Text with Instructive Questions, and Diagram with Instructive Questions. Flow diagrams were more effective than texts as a presentation type when teaching cyclical information. The groups that studied diagrams scored significantly higher on the comprehension test than the groups that studied texts §(1,125) = 22.44, p < .05. However, instructive questions used as prompts or as study organizers did not enhance the instructional effectiveness of diagrams or texts. The groups that received instructive questions as an adjunct to the presentation mode scored significantly lower on the comprehension test than the groups that did not receive the adjunct questions F(1, 125) = 8.14, p < .05. Further analysis indicated no interaction among the independent variables. It was concluded that flow diagrams are more effective than text when teaching verbal chains.