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

Georgiou Yiannis; Ioannou Andri

There is a wide spread assumption that technology enhanced learning environments, which are grounded on the notion of embodied cognition, can promote learning. Τhe current study reviews the empirical basis of this assumption by examining literatu re published from 2008 to 2017 which employs embodied learning environments in K 12 education. As part of this study, we review a total of 41 empirical studies and we focus on the type of embodied learning environments utilized, the research methods adopted for their evaluation and the educational contexts in which they are implemented.At the core of this review study, we investigate students’ learning gains whilst examining the learning effectiveness of embodied learning environments, as compared to other interfaces and instructional approaches. In general, the review revealed positive outcomes from the use of embodied learning environments in K 12. Most of the reviewed studies were contextualized in K12 STEM education, adopted gesture based technologies and evaluated
students’ learning using retrospective measures grounded on pre post questionnaires. Cognitive learning outcomes were dominant in the reviewed studies, while the evaluation of affective and psychomotor outcomes received less attention. The ma jority 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 group. 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 embodied learning environments.

This work has been partly supported by the project that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme 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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