Connection making between representations is crucial to learning in STEM domains, but it is a difficult task for students. Prior research shows that supporting connection making enhances students’ learning of domain knowledge. Most prior research has focused on supporting one type of connection-making process:
reasoning about connections between representations. Yet, recent research suggests that a second type of connection-making process plays a role in students’ learning:
translation between representations. We hypothesized that combining support for both conceptual and perceptual connection-making processes leads to higher learning gains on a domain-knowledge test. We tested this hypothesis in a lab experiment with 117 undergraduate students using an intelligent tutoring system for chemistry. Results show that the combination of conceptual and perceptual connection-making supports leads to higher learning outcomes. This finding suggests that the effectiveness of educational technologies can be enhanced if they combine support for conceptual and perceptual connection-making processes.