How textbook design may influence learning with geography textbooks
Nyckelord:GEOGRAPHY TEXTBOOKS, TEXTBOOK DESIGN, IMAGE-TEXT RESEARCH, GRAPHICS, PHOTOGRAPHS, EYE TRACKING
This paper investigates how textbook design may influence students’ visual attention to graphics, photos and text in current geography textbooks. Eye tracking, a visual method of data collection and analysis, was utilised to precisely monitor students’ eye movements while observing geography textbook spreads. In an exploratory study utilising random sampling, the eye movements of 20 students (secondary school students 15–17 years of age and university students 20–24 years of age) were recorded. The research entities were double- page spreads of current German geography textbooks covering an identical topic, taken from five separate textbooks. A two-stage test was developed. Each participant was given the task of first looking at the entire textbook spread to determine what was being explained on the pages. In the second stage, participants solved one of the tasks from the exercise section. Overall, each participant studied five different textbook spreads and completed five set tasks. After the eye tracking study, each participant completed a questionnaire. The results may verify textbook design as one crucial factor for successful knowledge acquisition from textbooks. Based on the eye tracking documentation, learning-related challenges posed by images and complex image-text structures in textbooks are elucidated and related to educational psychology insights and findings from visual communication and textbook analysis.