The Relationships of Media, Task, Spatial Presence, and Critical Thinking, in an Online Tutorial Designed to Teach Art Criticism
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This experimental study analyzed the relationships between media type, task type, the learners’ experience of spatial presence in media and learning outcomes. Spatial presence is believed to represent the users’ focus of attention on and involvement with a media presentation. Some researchers believe that manipulating factors that increase spatial presence will increase learning and performance. Increased interest in media learning presentations raises questions about what types of media can best support learning, and whether design recommendations can be generalized across domains. Undergraduate and graduate college students were assigned to four experimental treatments to test the hypothesis that spatial presence mediates the effects of task type and media type on a learning task that requires critical thinking: writing an art critique. Media types were static and interactive/immersive; task types were guided and unguided. The Witmer and Singer Presence Questionnaire and the Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric were used to measure spatial presence and critical thinking, respectively. Results showed that Task type and Media type did not significantly influence Spatial Presence or Critical Thinking. Scores on Spatial Presence were significantly related to the Critical Thinking scores. The guided task immersive media treatment group had fewer high scores on Critical Thinking which suggests that the task structure and/or media type may have distracted from the main learning task. The results support contemporary theories of spatial presence as a phenomenon of mental processing that monitors intention and goal completion but is not dependent on specific media characteristics. The results also suggest congruence between contemporary ideas about spatial presence and the cognitive load theory of learning.
Wood, Nancy O (2013). The Relationships of Media, Task, Spatial Presence, and Critical Thinking, in an Online Tutorial Designed to Teach Art Criticism. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from