What helps children learn difficult tasks: a teacher's presence may be worth more than a screen

Kostyrka-Allchorne, Katarzyna, Holland, Amanda, Cooper, Nicholas R., Ahamed, Woakil, Marrow, Rachel K. and Simpson, Andrew (2019) What helps children learn difficult tasks: a teacher's presence may be worth more than a screen. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 17 (100114). pp. 1-7. ISSN 2211-9493


What helps children learn: is it a presence of a live teacher or an interaction with the learning materials? Addressing this question, we manipulated a teacher’s presence (on-screen vs. present) and activity (observing vs. doing) while teaching children about the properties of geometric shapes. Five-year-olds (n=215) completed two shape-sorting tasks in which they distinguished between typical, atypical and non-valid shapes. In between these tasks, they took part in one of four training sessions: doing teacher-present, observing teacher-present, doing teacher-on-screen and observing teacher-on-screen. Although children’s shape knowledge improved across all training conditions, learning showed an interaction between teacher presence and task difficulty. In a teacher’s presence, children learned more about the most difficult (atypical) shapes, irrespective of activity. It may be the social interaction, associated with a teacher’s presence, that enhances learning. Conversely, physically taking part in interactive touchscreen training did not result in more learning than passive screen viewing.

Kostyrka-Allchorne, Holland, Cooper, Ahamed, Marrow and Simpson 2019 - Touchscreen shape learning.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (421kB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

View Item View Item