Rieber, L.P. & Kini, A.S. (1991a). Theoretical foundations of instructional Applications of computer-generated animated visuals. Journal of computer-based instructions, 18 (3), 83-88


Subject: perceptual and mnemonic factors and their implications on the design of computer-based instruction (CBI).

Advantages of computer is often related to the use of graphics whose advantages are well-known (usual ref.): visualization of relationships between concepts and rules, mnemonics aids (dual-coding), effective attention-gaining devices and affective appealing tools.
Perceptual conditions not developped here.

Memory related reasons why animation could be useful:
- animation, like any picture, should aid recall when it helps to visualize facts concepts or principles;
- animated graphics are appropriate at communicating ideas which involves changes over time because of its ability to represent motion, thereby reducing the level of abstraction of temporal ideas;
- moreover static graphic contain graphic devices to represent notion (arrows, dots) and are cognitivly costly; therefore animation triggers the automatic ability of the visual system to induce apparent motion, thus decreasing the load in working memory.

So if the learning task only requires learners to visualize information, the use of static graphic would be sufficient [and perhaps better, Cf. Kinzer & al., 89].Animated graphic should be used when learners have to understand that an idea change over time or involves directional characteristics.
Four applications of animation in computer instructions: esthetic, attention gaining, presentation and practice.


Rieber, L.P. (1990a). Animation in computer-based instruction. Education Technology, Research and Developement, 38 (1), 18 (3),77-86

Subject: review of research about animation.

3 functions of animation in CBI (computer-based instruction):

- attention-gaining: special effects for transitions between instructional frames, moving symbol or characters and animated promps. They help to increase the figure proeminence by contrast to a static background. Used only for "cosmetic" appeal, they can heklp to arouse students interests but could also be distracting.

- presentation: used with or without an accompanying text to demonstrate or elaborate a lesson concept, fact, rule or procedure.-> learning by viewing approach

- practice: animation is used as a part of a practice strategy (from highly structured to discovery approach). Among them, interactive dynamics are defined as animated graphics which change continuously over time based on students input (Cf. simulation) -> learning by doing.

Review of research

Premise: animated visuals are a subset of instructional visuals and guidelines generated from the large body of research on static visuals extend to them but not fully account for their possible effects. Interstingly, picture superiority effects were found after 1970, when the conditions where illustrations might aid learning hade been more clear [We can assume that the same things happens to animation: if the results are inconsistent and not clearly replicable, it's probably because the rationals of the use of animated display are not yet clear].

Recommandations for the use of animation:

1) animation should be incoprorated only when its attributes are congruent to the learning task. Animation brings three attributes: visualization, motion and trajectory.

2) recommendation 2: when subjects are novice, the instruction must be designed so that it helps students to focus on the relevant clues or detailed provided by animation (cf Baek & Lane, 88).

3) recommedation 3. An animated display is likely to be more effective than a static one when coupled with an interactive instructional strategy as evidenced by several studies (Reed, 85; Rieber, 90b,[Gonzales,96]). Indeed, the power of animation comes from the potential for creating a wide assortment of practice strategies, mainly interactive strategies which can be not be easily achieved by other media than computer. Therefore, in a practice strategy, it's important that students be able to perceive differences in the graphic feed-back, an ability that novices have difficulties attaining.