Should learners use their hands for learning? Results from an eye-tracking study

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Given the widespread use of touch screen devices, the effect of the users' fingers on information processing and learning is of growing interest. The present study drew on cognitive load theory and embodied cognition perspectives to investigate the effects of pointing and tracing gestures on the surface of a multimedia learning instruction. Learning performance, cognitive load and visual attention were examined in a one-factorial experimental design with the between-subject factor pointing and tracing gestures. The pointing and tracing group were instructed to use their fingers during the learning phase to make connections between corresponding text and picture information, whereas the control group was instructed not to use their hands for learning. The results showed a beneficial effect of pointing and tracing gestures on learning performance, a significant shift in visual attention and deeper processing of information by the pointing and tracing group, but no effect on subjective ratings of cognitive load. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)102-113
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (01PL12057).

Publisher Copyright:
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