Humans have an evolved embodied cognition that equips them to deal easily with the natural movements of object manipulations. Hence, learning a manipulative task is generally more effective when watching animations that show natural motions of the task, rather than equivalent static pictures. The present study was completed to explore this research domain further by investigating the impact of gender on static and animation presentations. In two experiments, university students were randomly assigned to either a static or animation condition and watched a computer-controlled presentation of a Lego shape being built. After each of two presentations, students were required to reconstruct the task followed by a transfer task. In Experiment 1 the tasks were performed using real Lego bricks (physical environment), and in Experiment 2 by computerized images of the bricks (virtual environment). Results indicated no differences between the two testing environments or an overall advantage for the animated format. However, a number of interactions between gender and presentation format were found. Follow-up analyses indicated that females benefited more than males from using animated presentations.

Animation vs. static picture, Cognitive load theory, Embodied cognition, Gender differences, Technology-based learning
Educational Technology and Society
Department of Psychology

Wong, M, Castro-Alonso, J.C, Ayres, P, & Paas, G.W.C. (2015). Gender effects when learning manipulative tasks from instructional animations and static presentations. Educational Technology and Society, 18(4), 37–52. Retrieved from