Self-Regulated Learning with Graphical Overviews: When Spatial Information Detracts from Learning


Graphical overviews have been studied as a method to improve hypertext learning and digital search. Although previous studies have found learning benefits to graphical overviews of single hypertext, it is unclear if these benefits extend to online learning across multiple (independent) documents. Previous research also has found that graphical overviews facilitate domain focus during online search, but it has not been established whether these benefits are derived from the spatial organization of the graphic or its textual content. This research examined the impact of using graphical overviews organized either spatially (i.e., network view) or textually (i.e., outline view) during self-regulated online learning. Assessments focused on deep understanding of science concepts and the relationships between them. Results indicated that the outline view promoted deeper understanding of science concepts and fewer errors about the relationships between them. Implications are discussed for the design and implementation of instructional materials to support self-regulated learning.

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