The aesthetics at a pencil tip: The effects of drawing on learning poems

Heping XIE, Dan LIN, Wei HE, Qingrong CHEN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


Background: Research on drawing has focused primarily on science texts as the learning materials, with relatively limited studies conducted in the humanities or other disciplines. This lack of diversity may restrict the generalizability of the observed drawing effect. 

Aim: Poems were a type of highly visualizable and condensed humanities texts, differing largely from the science materials. This study examined an under-explored topic for the effects of drawing on learning poems, as compared to reading, writing, and explaining strategies. 

Samples: Participants were 60 college students in Experiment 1, and 89 college students in Experiment 2. 

Methods: In Experiment 1, students learned poems by picture drawing as a constructive-mode activity, and repeated reading and verbatim writing as active-mode activities. In Experiment 2, students drew pictures and explained meanings of the poems as constructive-mode activities. Results: The immediate performance and motivation after learning in the drawing strategy were higher than those in the reading and writing strategies. Students showed lower decreases from immediate to delayed performance and higher scores of motivation rating for the drawing strategy than for the explaining strategy, although the immediate performance with the drawing strategy was not as good as that with the explaining strategy. 

Conclusions: The utilization of drawing strategy demonstrated its potential in facilitating learning poems. With the evidence of learning poems, this study contributed to our understanding of the interactive, constructive, active, and passive (ICAP) framework by highlighting its cross-mode superiority, and additionally elaborated different learning effects of the strategies within the same parallel mode. Copyright © 2024 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101881
JournalLearning and Instruction
Early online dateFeb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Feb 2024


Xie, H., Lin, D., He, W., & Chen, Q. (2024). The aesthetics at a pencil tip: The effects of drawing on learning poems. Learning and Instruction, 91, Article 101881.


  • Drawing
  • Poem
  • Learning
  • Constructive
  • Motivation


Dive into the research topics of 'The aesthetics at a pencil tip: The effects of drawing on learning poems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.