Visual imagery instruction with learning disabled and average achieving students

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this two-phase study was to investigate the effects of rate of presentation and type of material on the use of visual imagery in learning disabled (LD) and average achieving (AA) students. In the first phase, a norming study, 15 LD and 15 AA students were instructed to generate images for a list of concrete paired associates. The amount of time required to generate an image and the particular inlage reported was recorded. Based upon processing time and an image similarity index, 18 easy-to-relate and 18 difficult-to-relate word pairs were identified. Two rates of presentation (5 seconds and 10 seconds) were also determined in the norming study.

In the second phase, an experimental study, 40 LD and 40 AA students were presented with the word pairs derived from the norming study, at a 5 second and a 10 second rate. The experimental task involved learning the word paIrs under either imagery or rehearsal instructions. Students were tested for associative recall after each learning trial by being presented one member of each pair and being required to recall its pairmate. Subjects were subsequently asked to report on the strategies they implemented to learn the word pairs.

Data were analyzed using a 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 (group x instruction x presentation rate x pair difficulty) ANOVA with repeated measures on the last two factors. A series of separate imagery/rehearsal planned comparisons were conducted within each group/ presentation rate/pair difficulty combination. In addition, descriptive statistics were computed on the number and types of strategies reported by the students. Both LD and AA students benefited from the imagery strategy with both types of pairs at both rates.