Was Vygotsky Right? – Evaluating Learning Effects of Social Interaction in Children Internet Games

The social basis for learning, particularly in childhood, has been acknowledged since the seminal research of the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Although his theory is very often cited in HCI literature as a theoretical basis for the design of multi-user interactive artefacts, little empirical data is available that assess Vygotsky’s thesis in this domain. This paper presents an empirical study that investigated the learning impact of social interaction in the context of  children  online  edutainment.  We developed “multiplayer” and “individual” configurations of an educational internet game and measured the learning benefits of “playing together” and “playing alone” in 54 children from a local elementary school. Not surprisingly, our findings confirm that Vygotsky was right. They provide some empirical evidence that in contexts of online gaming, the presence of interpersonal communication, collective goals, and social activities has measurable beneficial effects on children learning.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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