EME7980 dissertation graphics UCF Prensky Hirumi Sivo education text DPI digital instruction schema media Robinson Dziuban Blasi time Drupal


Practitioners have proposed that Digital Natives prefer graphics while Digital Immigrants prefer text. While Instructional Design has been extensively studied and researched, the impact of the graphical emphasis in instructional designs as it relates to digital propensity has not been widely explored. Specifically, this study examined the performance of students when presented with text-only and graphic-only instructional formats. The purpose of this study was to test the relationship between Digital Propensity Index scores of individuals and their performance when interpreting online instruction. A sample of students from the population of a large metropolitan university received the Digital Propensity Index questionnaire, which is a measure of an individual's time spent interacting with digital media. Each student was randomly assigned varying formats of a computer-based instructional unit via a public survey. The instructional unit consisted of the DPI questionnaire and six tasks related to the Central Florida commuter rail system. Participants were asked to answer the DPI questionnaire on a website by clicking on a link in an emailed invitation. Following the DPI questionnaire, participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Group One saw three instructional tasks shown in text and shuffled in random order. Each task was displayed on its own webpage. By submitting an answer to the task, the group progressed through the website to the next task. Group Two saw graphic tasks first, again, shuffled in random order. After the first three tasks, the groups swapped instructional formats to view the opposing group's initial questions. Participants were timed on how many seconds they spent reviewing each task. Each task had an assessment question to evaluate the learning outcomes of the instructional unit. Finally, the DPI score of the participant was matched with the time spent viewing each presentation format. The findings indicate that DPI score had a statistically significant prediction of time spent navigating each type of instruction. Though the link between DPI score and time spent navigating instruction was statistically significant, the actual measurable time difference between navigating text and graphic formats was only a fraction of a second for each increment in DPI score. Limitations and potential future research related to the study are discussed as well.


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Graduation Date



Hirumi, Atsusi


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership

Degree Program









Release Date

August 2013

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Education Commons