Embodied Learning in a Digital World: A Systematic Review of Empirical Research in K-12 Education

  • Yiannis GeorgiouEmail author
  • Andri Ioannou
Part of the Smart Computing and Intelligence book series (SMCOMINT)


There is a widespread assumption that technology-enhanced embodied learning environments, which are grounded on the notion of embodied cognition, can promote learning. The current study reviews the empirical basis of this assumption by examining literature published from 2008 to 2017 which employed technology-enhanced embodied learning environments in K-12 education. Overall, 41 journal articles were included in the review study; these were indexed in four databases (Education Research Complete [via EBSCO], ERIC, JSTOR, and Scopus) as well as in Google Scholar, or were identified via the ancestry method. As part of our analysis, we focused on the type of technology-enhanced embodied environments utilized for educational purposes, the research methods adopted for their evaluation, and the educational contexts in which they were implemented. At the core of this review study, we investigated students’ learning outcomes across the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains, while we examined the learning effectiveness of technology-enhanced embodied environments, as compared to other interfaces and forms of instruction. In general, the review revealed positive outcomes about the use of technology-enhanced embodied learning environments in K-12. Most of the reviewed studies were contextualized in STEM education, adopted gesture-based technologies, and evaluated students’ learning using retrospective measures grounded on pre–post-testing. Cognitive outcomes were dominant in the reviewed studies, while the evaluation of affective and psychomotor outcomes received less attention. Most of the reviewed comparative studies reported that students in the embodied learning condition had increased learning gains, when compared to their counterparts in the control or comparison groups. However, these findings should be treated with caution due to a set of methodological concerns that this review identified. We conclude this chapter with a synthesis of our findings in the form of emerged implications and we provide a set of guidelines for future research and practice in the field of technology-enhanced embodied learning environments.


Embodied cognition Technology-enhanced learning Embodied learning environments Learning outcomes K-12 education 



This work is part of the project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 739578 (RISE-Call:H2020-WIDESPREAD-01-2016-2017-TeamingPhase2) and the government of the Republic of Cyprus through the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cyprus Interaction Lab, Department of Multimedia and Graphic ArtsCyprus University of Technology, Cyprus University of CyprusLimassolCyprus
  2. 2.Cyprus University of CyprusNicosiaCyprus

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