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Towards identifying and measuring visual literacy skills in biochemistry
School of Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of KwaZulu-Natal. (Science Education Research Group (SERG))
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Visual Information Technology and Applications (VITA). Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. (Visual Learning and Communication)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8888-6843
School of Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of KwaZulu-Natal. (Science Education Research Group (SERG))
2009 (English)In: The Nature of Research in Biological Education: Old and New Perspectives on Theoretical and Methodological Issues: A selection of papers presented at the VIIth Conference of European Researchers in Didactics of Biology (ERIDOB) / [ed] M. Hammann, A.J. Waarlo & K.Th. Boersma, Utrecht: CDBeta Press , 2009, 185-198 p.Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

The use of external representations, such as diagrams and animations, for teaching and learning in biochemistry, has rapidly increased over the past decade. Some research has shown that ERs can have a superior learning advantage over text alone, while other studies have indicated that external representations can cause and expose various visual literacy problems. The current study aimed to investigate the nature of visual literacy by identifying what visualization skills might compose optimal (expert) visual literacy in biochemistry, and to devise a means of measuring the visual literacy levels of biochemistry students. To address this issue, a literature search was used to identify potential visualization skills which were used to develop probes in the context of biochemistry. These probes were administered to final year biochemistry students. Analysis of the results utilized the Rasch model to generate an item difficulty map. The results showed that relevant visualization skills can be identified and measured in students, and then ranked according to level of difficulty. The results also revealed that visual literacy requires context-specific propositional knowledge, and is multifaceted in nature in that it is composed of several visualization skills.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Utrecht: CDBeta Press , 2009. 185-198 p.
, FIsme-series on Research in Science Education, No. 60
Keyword [en]
external representations, biochemistry, visual literacy skills, Rasch analysis
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-53811ISBN: 978-90-73346-66-6OAI: diva2:292163
Available from: 2010-02-04 Created: 2010-02-04 Last updated: 2015-06-02

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