Tangible interaction and learning: The case for a hybrid approach

Michael S. Horn*, R. Jordan Crouser, Marina U. Bers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Research involving tangible interaction and children has often focused on how tangibles might support or improve learning compared to more traditional methods. In this paper, we review three of our research studies involving tangible computer programming that have addressed this question in a variety of learning environments with a diverse population of children. Through these studies, we identify situations in which tangible interaction seems to offer advantages for learning; however, we have also identify situations in which tangible interaction proves less useful and an alternative interaction style provides a more appropriate medium for learning. Thus, we advocate for a hybrid approach-one that offers teachers and learners the flexibility to select the most appropriate interaction style to meet the needs of a specific situation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-389
Number of pages11
JournalPersonal and Ubiquitous Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Children
  • Computer programming
  • Education
  • Hybrid tangible interface
  • Robotics
  • TUIs
  • Tangible interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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