The Impact of Visual Graphics on K-12 Students’ Learning Across Disciplines
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The primary focus of the dissertation is to investigate the impact of visual graphics on K-12 students’ learning across disciplines. However, before this research line can be fully inquired, we should first understand the characteristics of graphics that students frequently encountered in classrooms and the current status of research. Therefore, this dissertation encompasses three connected studies: a) a content analysis of characteristics of graphics in elementary students’ textbooks, b) a critical analysis of research in visual literacy, c) a systematic review on the impact of visual graphics on K-12 students’ learning across disciplines. The first study shows nine major types of graphics and 54 sub-types, indicating that students frequently encounter a diverse range of graphics. Additionally, the types and functions of graphics significantly differed between the two disciplines of social studies and science. My second study critiqued the methodology quality of current research regarding the effect of visual graphics on students’ learning, identifying trends in rigor and in limitations. Additionally, models of research with high-level rigors were present to improve research in visual literacy. Finally, study three synthesized 44 pre-screened articles. Findings distinguished three types of visual graphics: author-provided, student-completed, and student-generated graphics and discussed their effectiveness on students’ learning across disciplines. Findings show that simply using graphics do not guarantee a positive learning effect. To promote students’ learning, teachers could provide support to guide them acquire multiple skills to integrate information from multimodal text.
Guo, Daibao (2018). The Impact of Visual Graphics on K-12 Students’ Learning Across Disciplines. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from