Evaluating the Effectiveness of Multimedia Information Graphics in the Learning Environment

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



Date of Award

Summer 2012


Information graphics have been used to visually communicate data or processes since the first maps and calendars were scribed thousands of years ago. The format steadily evolved and by the twentieth century had developed areas of concentration such as cartography, wayfinding, data visualization and illustrative charts and graphs. The scientific principles governing charts and graphs help the viewer understand the relationship of data within the context of a particular subject. Adjusting the graphic elements of this format should enable the viewer to also recall specific information. The goals of this thesis were to determine what type of information formatting best supported comprehension and recollection: static text, static information graphics, animated information graphics, or multimedia information graphics in an online learning environment, and to ascertain if certain data, when strategically emphasized, were recalled more successfully from a specific format. In this study, 142 participants viewed one of four online lessons on a community's census statistics. Each lesson was presented in a unique format: static text, static information graphics, animated information graphics, or multimedia information graphics. A quiz was taken, followed by an exit survey. The quantitative data collected focused on recollection accuracy. The qualitative data collected included perceived learning experience, format preference, and random recollection. The data collected and analyzed indicated that specific information was recalled more successfully from certain formats. It was also determined that demographic segments had format preferences, and those segments performed better using certain formats. The results of this study could be used to guide those who develop and design digital and online materials for education, training, business presentations, and national and international news platforms. Developers of tablets and smartphones will find the study's outcomes helpful when seeking alternative and concise visual communication solutions. The findings will also be of interest to content creators who are searching for Web and digital platforms that ensure a high rate of recollection and who are seeking format preferences for demographic segments.


Virgil Scott

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities