Spatial abilities and thus mental rotation skills predict achievement in STEM domains. Thus, a wide range of studies investigated the possibilities and trainings of mental rotation skills. One prominent approach is using different digital tools and representation formats to foster spatial abilities. Thereby numerous studies analyzed effects of static in comparison to interactive dynamic representations of mental rotation tasks using different types of interactions. Although the use of dynamic representations is discussed critical regarding superficial information processing, there are no studies to date varying instructional techniques in interactive dynamic spatial trainings. In two studies we compared Limited Rotation training to non-limited Free Rotation training with high school students (Npilot = 21, Nmain = 66). Results after training show a superior effect of the limited compared to the non-limited training regarding the students’ success rate, but not their motivation and mental demand. Additionally analyzed process data show more efficient ways of task solving after limited rotation training indicated by reduced response time and rotation way accompanied by higher success rates in solving non-limited rotation tasks. Results of a pre-and-post-comparison of mental rotation skills indicate a higher increment after limited rotation training. Over-facilitating effects of dynamic representations are discussed.

Mental rotation, Multimedia learning, Spacial abilities, STEM,
Computers in Human Behavior
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Montag, M. (Michael), Bertel, S. (Sven), de Koning, B.B, & Zander, S. (Steffi). (2021). Exploration vs. limitation – An investigation of instructional design techniques for spatial ability training on mobile devices. Computers in Human Behavior, 118. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2020.106678