Transfer of learning in young children: Magic digital or similarity-based?

By Wilfried T. Mombo, Jérôme Clerc

Background. There is little information about the transfer of a problem-solving procedure presented on different tasks’ modalities, especially between tangible and touchscreen. Method. One hundred and three children aged 6 to 7 solved a first version of the Tower of Hanoi that was presented either through a tangible or a touchscreen modality, and then solved a second version which was also presented either through a tangible or a touchscreen modality. Besides, we measured the participants’ levels of cognitive inhibition, as it may play a role in transfer. Results. The results showed that transferring the procedure was accompanied by a decrement in performance. This decrement was followed by a recovery of performance in the following trials. Performance on the first transfer trial was better within-dimension touchscreen condition rather than in cross-dimension tangible condition. Inhibition scores significantly predicted transfer performance. Conclusion. Transfer of learning is promoted by tasks’ modalities similarity not by the digital itself, and cognitive inhibition predicts transfer performance.

  • transfer of learning
  • touchscreen
  • Tower of Hanoi
  • cognitive inhibition
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