A. Methods and procedures

Five three and fifty seven eight and three-grade students in university participated in this study. Among them, there were 185 students took the course under the first teaching way that teaching every functions of Dreamweaver, Firework and Flash according to the menus of the software. The other 172 students took the course under the second teaching way that teaching according a real living e-commence web site. They were randomly assigned to groups using animation, still-graphic and text treatments before taking the course. They received their treatments and took a criterion test. The material used for designing a web sit which sell second-hand book integrated physics and mathematics concepts in a situated environment. Various scenarios for solving scientific problems were provided. To be successful problem solvers, students need to develop familiarity with several scientific concepts, including levers, direction of force, resultant force, and composition of forces, component forces and equilibrium of force. The lesson was designed in three versions. The following is a description of the treatment:

• Treatment 1

In this version, only textual information was presented to explain scientific concepts.

• Treatment 2

In this version, static graphics with textual information were presented to explain scientific concepts.

• Treatment 3

In this version, the instructional materials contain textual instructions and animated graphics Students interacted with the learning materials independently. To assess the students’ performance, a criterion reference test created based on the content was provided.

The criterion reference test contained 25 testing item. Twelve of them were to assess the students’ learning of descriptive knowledge, and thirteen were to assess students’ learning of procedural knowledge.

B. Results

Comparison of mean scores among boys and girls in prior physics, mathematics and post –test scores (including descriptive and procedural knowledge). Since from Pearson correlation analysis, students’ grade level, prior physics and mathematics scores were significantly correlated with post-test scores for both descriptive and procedural knowledge (p<0.05), all of these factors were used as covariates for controlling the initial difference among groups, when the effects of teaching methods and visual format were analyzed . In both descriptive and procedural material design, the 3(text/Still-Graphics/Animation) x 2 (first teaching way, second teaching way) ANCOVAs were employed to examine the effects of teaching ways and visual format. Separate ANCOVAs were also used to describe the effects of visual treatments on different spatial groups.

• Descriptive learning

For descriptive learning, the 3X2 ANCOVA indicated insignificant effects for both visual format [F9 (2, 348) = 2.532, p=0,081] and teaching ways [F91, 348] = 1.786, p=0.182]. No interaction was found between the two variables [F (2, 348) = 0.404, p=0.668] (a=0.05 level) (table 2). Form the adjusted mean scores, pair comparisons all revealed insignificant differences (p>0, 05). In order to determine whether visual format influence learning of descriptive knowledge under first teaching way and second teaching way, separate analyses were conduced. It was found that under second teaching way, the effect of visual format was insignificant [F (2, 179) = 0.384, p=0.682]. None of the pair comparisons showed significant differences (a = 0.05 level). However, under first teaching way, the effect of visual format was significant [F (2, 166) = 4.494, p=0.013]. Pair comparisons among treatments indicated significant differences for animation vs. text group (p = 0.009) and still graphics vs. text group (p =0.010) (a = 0.05 level) (Table3)

• Procedural Learning

For procedural Learning, the 3 X 2 ANCOVA indicated a moderating effect for visual format [F (2, 348) = 2.973, p=0.052], and significant effect for teaching ways [F (1, 348) = 5.853, p=0.0168]. No interaction was found between the two variables [F (2, 348) = 2.221, p = 0.1108] (a = 0.05 level) (Table 2). As determined by the adjusted mean scores, the second teaching way is better than the first teaching way (p =0.016). Pair comparisons indicated significant differences only for graphics vs. Text group (p = 0.012). To determine whether the visual format influenced learning of procedural knowledge differently in two teaching ways, separate analyses were conducted. It was found that using first teaching way, the effect of visual format was insignificant [f (92,179) = 1.111, p=0.331], and none of the pair comparisons among treatments showed significant differences (a = 0.05 level). However, under first teaching level, the effect of visual format was significant [F (2, 166) = 4.635, p = 0.011], and pair comparisons among treatments indicated significant a difference for still graphics vs. text group (p = 0.003), and insignificant differences for still graphics vs. animation group (p =0.102) and still graphics vs. animation (p =0.143) (a = 0.05 level) (Table 3).