oa The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning - Anthropomorphic graphics : how useful are they as an instructional aid to facilitate learning?

Volume 13 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1818-9687
  • E-ISSN: 2519-5670



Research has shown that decorative graphics do not contribute to learning when combined with instructional text. Some recent studies, however, indicate that decorative anthropomorphic graphics may improve comprehension during learning tasks. This article reports on an experiment involving 151 Grade 11 learners to test the potential of anthropomorphised graphics in learning material. The aim was to determine if the anthropomorphic graphics contributed to learning and whether the learners experienced the material in a positive manner. One group received text only, another received the same text but with anthropomorphised colour graphics and a third group received the text with non-anthropomorphised monochrome graphics. The anthropomorphised group did not perform significantly better than the other groups regarding comprehension and no significant difference was found regarding the enjoyment of the material. These results differ from recent studies that suggest that anthropomorphised graphics may contribute to learning and are enjoyed by learners. The non-significant results could be due to the differences in the experimental method of this study and those studies that reported positively on anthropomorphised graphics. Further research is required for instructional designers to understand better how learners process and respond to anthropomorphic graphics with a view on optimising its appearance in learning material.

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