Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

The Effect of Playing with Tablet Games Compared with Real Objects on Word Learning by Preschoolers

Ingrid Singer, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (The Netherlands)

Ellen Gerrits, HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (The Netherlands)


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of vocabulary training with tablet games (TG’s) and with real objects (ROs) on word learning by normally developing preschoolers. The vocabulary intervention entailed a joint play session in which a speech language therapy student, who stimulated word learning by providing multiple exposures to target words during playful interaction.
Methods: In a randomized-controlled crossover trial using a pre-test, intervention, post-test design we compared word learning effects of an vocabulary intervention delivered through playing a TG with an intervention using ROs as play material. Both interventions were delivered in a 15-minute interactive play session. Participants were 22 children with a typical development, aged 3 years who were randomly assigned to the TG/RO group (n=9) and the RO/TG group (n=13). All children played with both materials and acted as their own controls. In each condition the objective for children was to learn five target words. The target words were chosen from a published vocabulary list for children aged 2;5-5;0 years. Receptive word knowledge of the ten target words was measured with a picture pointing task before,
immediately after the intervention, and in a delayed post-test, one week later.
Results: Results show that children learned new words in both conditions in the delayed post-test, but not immediately after the intervention. On average the children learned one new word while playing with the TG and playing with ROs. There was no significant difference in word learning between the two conditions.
Conclusion: Vocabulary intervention for preschoolers with tablet games is as effective as playing with real objects.

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