Students from middle school through undergraduates struggle to make sense of illustrated text, which requires combining information from written and visual sources. Most research on coordination of text and diagrams has investigated basic processes or tested minor changes to multimedia design, and applications to classroom learning have been rare. I present on a body of research designing and implementing classroom interventions implementing principles from cognitive science. Results from pre- and posttesting and analyses of student work products created during learning show the effectiveness of instructing students in diagram comprehension. I close with a couple of ongoing basic research studies investigating strategy use and inferential processing in illustrated text.
Jennifer Cromley is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She holds a 2005 Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Maryland College Park. Supported by seven IES and NSF funded grants since 2008, she has conducted research on learning from text and diagrams as well as cognitive and motivational predictors of STEM grades and retention. She serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Educational Psychology, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Reading Research Quarterly, and Learning and Instruction.