AV communication review

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 399–416 | Cite as

Color as an instructional variable

  • Francis M. Dwyer


The purpose of this experiment was to measure the relative effectiveness of eight types of visual illustrations used to complement oral instruction and to investigate the hypothesis that color is an important instructional variable for facilitating student achievement of specific educational objectives. Nine complete slide sequences possessing differing degrees of realistic detail were produced so that variations in visual stimuli could be assessed in terms of their ability to facilitate student achievement on five criterial measures. Two hundred sixty-one college students were randomly assigned to one of the nine treatment groups. Each student received a pretest, participated in one of the instructional presentations, and received four individual criterial measures. The results of this study suggest a number of conclusions to be taken into consideration in the preparation of visualized instruction at the college level:
  1. 1.

    For specific learning objectives the addition of color in certain types of visuals appears to be an important instructional variable in improving student achievement.

  2. 2.

    The use of visuals (both black-and-white and color) to complement oral instruction does not automatically improve student achievement of all types of learning objectives.

  3. 3.

    Different types of colored illustrations differ in the effectiveness with which they facilitate student achievement of identical educational objectives.

  4. 4.

    Different types of black-and-white illustrations differ in the effectiveness with which they facilitate student achievement of identical educational objectives.



Student Achievement Heart Model Simple Line Oral Instruction Visual Illustration 
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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francis M. Dwyer
    • 1
  1. 1.University Division of Instructional ServicesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park

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