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Computer support for collaborative learning of child pedestrian skills

Tolmie, Andrew and Thomson, J. and Foot, H. and Sarvary, P. and Whelan, K. and Morrison, S. (2003) Computer support for collaborative learning of child pedestrian skills. In: Co-operative learning: the social and intellectual outcomes of learning in groups. Routledge Falmer, London, UK, pp. 177-195. ISBN 0415303419

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Practical training is highly effective at improving pedestrian skills amongst children as young as 5 years, but can be difficult to conduct at the roadside. The present project therefore aimed to assess the potential of computer-based training, within four areas of pedestrian skill. Each was addressed by simulation materials that presented problems such as deciding when it was safe for an on-screen character to cross a road; and provided support for interaction aimed at solving the problems between small groups of children and an adult trainer. A large-scale evaluation of these materials found almost uniform benefits across the primary age range, with training producing substantial and cumulative improvements at the roadside in all four skills, with one partial exception. These results confirm the potential of computer-based training, although the evidence suggests its value is as a support mechanism and as a complement to, not a substitute for, roadside training.