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We investigated the role that tangibility plays in a problem-solving task by observing logistic apprentices using either a multitouch or a tangible interface. Results showed that tangibility helped them perform the task better and achieve a higher learning gain. In addition, groups using the tangible interface collaborated better, explored more alternative designs, and perceived problem solving as more playful. Mediation analysis revealed that exploration was the only process variable explaining the performance for the problem-solving task. Implications of this study are discussed in terms of the benefits of tangibility for education and directions for future research.
Date of Publication: July-Sept. 2011