|Girwidz, R; Bogner, FX; Robitzko, T; Schaal, S: Media Assisted Learning in Science Education: An interdisciplinary approach to hibernation and energy transfer, Science Education International, 17(2), 95-107 (2006)|
A hypermedia learning environment for science education was developed to teach subject-integrative concepts of physics and biology. It deals with “Life in winter,” focussing on physical terms and mammals’ strategies for successful hibernation. To support effective learning in such a complex knowledge domain, information is presented using a variety of representations, such as texts, pictures, films, animations or simulations, and combinations of these. Special guidelines for multimedia design were applied to take into account limitations of human mental processing capacities, to offer a high level of interactivity, and to stimulate relevant mental activities for learning by using a special workbook. In addition, the hypermedia environment was structured to support a link between physics and biology. The learning environment was implemented in a ninth-grade class. An increase in cognitive achievement was found with regard to both the subject-specific and the subject-integrative aspects. Questions for retention and reasoning with the material revealed similar gains in both categories. Relevant for inter-individual differences in learning outcome were in this study: Prior domain-specific knowledge, general scientific expertise, and an active and successful use of the workbook. Learners with lower scientific abilities were able partly to compensate their shortcomings in scientific thinking by a conscientious use of the workbook. This finding supports arguments for adapting a guiding workbook to individual needs.