Learning of spatial structures
Spatial structures of objects, or spatial configurations, are one field of application of dynamic visualizations: a learner can follow the change in perspective towards an object because either a virtual camera moves around the object, or the object is rotated and modified in front of a camera which is set in a fixed position. Compared to static visualizations (e.g., cross and longitudinal sections), this may help cognitive processing. Visualizations such as these can overburden learners.
Spatial configurations, however, are often visualized with rather complex, intuitively designed tracking shots, zooming ins and outs, rotations, cuts, and cues - whose effects have not been identified individually. Thus, in one of our current experimental studies, we investigate the focused utilization of animations to assist spatial understanding by incorporating inter-individual differences in spatial abilities.
Münzer, S. (2012). Facilitating spatial perspective taking through animation: Evidence from an aptitude-treatment-interaction. Learning and Individual Differences, 22, 505-510. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2012.03.002