Fourth graders’ dyadic learning on multi-touch interfaces—versatile effects of verbalization prompts

  • Lara Johanna SchmittEmail author
  • Armin Weinberger
Research Article


Multi-touch interfaces allow for direct and simultaneous input by several co-present learners and afford hands-on learning experiences. Additional scaffolding for strategic behavior and/or verbalizations may constructively complement collaborative learning with a multi-touch device. In this study, the tablet app “Proportion” is supposed to enable two novices (about 10 years old) to collaboratively construct an understanding of proportional relations. In a 2 × 2 factorial design (n = 162), effects of enriching Proportion with strategy prompts (with/without) and verbalization prompts (with/without) on multi-modal processes as well as near and far transfer learning gains have been investigated. The process variables include task focus, positive and negative emotions, and quality of dialogue (transactivity, epistemic quality). We found a general improvement in near transfer task types over all conditions without the two prompt types further affecting learning gains. While the strategy prompts did not significantly affect processes or outcomes, the verbalization prompts had versatile effects on learning processes: On one hand, quality of talk was improved, on the other hand, task focus and emotions were negatively affected.


Collaborative learning Embodiment Proportional reasoning Scaffolding Tablets 



The authors would like to thank Jochen Rick for designing and programming the Proportion app and the various student assistants supporting the research project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany

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