Learning from abstract and contextualized representations: The effect of verbal guidance

Amy Johnson, Kirsten R. Butcher, Gamze Ozogul, Martin Reisslein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


An experiment examined the effects of providing explicit verbal guidance to learners in integrating information with abstract or contextualized representations during computer-based learning of engineering. Verbal guidance supported learners in identifying correspondences and making mental connections among multiple textual and diagrammatic representations. Results from a 2 (abstract (A) or contextualized (C) representation) × 2 (no guidance or guidance) design showed that without guidance, abstract representations led to better transfer than contextualized representations. Moreover, learners in the contextualized representation group benefitted from the guidance, while the abstract representation group did not benefit from guidance. These findings suggest that abstract representations promote the development of deep, transferrable knowledge and that verbal guidance denoting correspondences among representations can facilitate learning when less effective representational formats are utilized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2239-2247
Number of pages9
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013


  • Attention guidance
  • Multiple external representations
  • Problem-solving
  • Text-diagram integration
  • Visual representations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Learning from abstract and contextualized representations: The effect of verbal guidance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this