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Thesis defence : Wilfried Thierry MOMBO

Thesis defence

On 15 December 2021

Task, context, inhibition : the young child facing the transfer of learning on a digital tablet

This thesis adresses the issue of digital transfer. Is it possible to observe a transfer of learning on a digital tablet in children, in the case of the Tower of Hanoi ? Consistent with Klahr and Chen's (2011) model, is such a transfer determined by similarities between tasks and contexts, as observed in transfer between tangible tasks? Furthermore, in line with research showing the role of inhibition in interference control, does inhibition contribute to this transfer?To answer these questions, three studies were conducted with French and Gabonese children aged 6 to 7. The results showed that, as for the transfer between tangible tasks, the digital transfer is characterized by a temporary decrement in performance. This decrement in performance during the transition to the transfer task can nevertheless be limited by specific training (study 1), similarity of the task presentation modalities (study 2), and a joint similarity of tasks and their digital contexts of presentation (study 3). In all three studies, we also showed that inhibitory control (Diamond, 2013) helps to limit this decrement.This thesis further tested the validity of Klahr and Chen’s (2011) model in the case of digital transfer. This work showed that learning on a digital tablet does not guarantee that transfer of learning will occur. The new task must also be performed on a digital tablet, which qualifies the hypothesis of a facilitating effect of digital tablets on transfer of learning. The contribution of inhibition in transfer of learning is attested by the results obtained, extending previous work (Borst & Houdé, 2014). The results of this work provide new perspectives for a better understanding of the role of inhibition in transfer of learning and of the metacognitive processes that could explain the pattern of performance recovery observed in this work. They also inform education professionals and designers of graphical interfaces of digital tablets on the conditions of learning and transfer from these tools. Thus, the results are discussed theoretically and in terms of practical and pedagogical implications.

Encadrant :
- Directeur de thèse : Jérôme CLERC - (jerome[dot]clerc[at]univ-grenoble-alpes[dot]fr)
Keywords: Learning transfer, Digital tablet, Performance drop, Inhibition, Tower of Hanoi,


On 15 December 2021


Gouvernement gabonais

Submitted on 20 November 2023

Updated on 20 November 2023