The Role of Online Processing in Young Children’s Learning from Interactive and Noninteractive Digital Media

  • Heather KirkorianEmail author
  • Tiffany Pempek
  • Koeun Choi


In the current chapter, we consider the role of information processing in young children’s learning from screens. We describe methods for assessing online processing while children watch video, including physiological measures such as eye movements and heart rate, and argue for the importance of considering both selective and sustained attention in order to fully understand how children process digital media content. We also explore techniques that have proven successful in facilitating transfer from screens to real-life objects. In particular, we discuss the benefits of clarifying the symbolic nature of screen media, reducing cognitive load, and creating interactive experiences with screens. We conclude with a synthesis of these disparate literatures and suggestions for future research.


Video deficit Transfer deficit Eye tracking Educational media Video comprehension Information processing Selective attention Sustained attention Learning Online processing Infants Young children 



This chapter was supported in part by grants from the National Science Foundation to the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Heather L. Kirkorian, Principal Investigator, BCS-1226550, BCS-1525726) and Hollins University (Tiffany A. Pempek, Principal Investigator, BCS-1524539). Findings and opinions expressed in this chapter do not reflect endorsement by the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Hollins UniversityRoanokeUSA
  3. 3.University of California-RiversideRiversideUSA

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