How Do Edtech Platforms Impact Learning

The role of digital play in enriching early learning experiences

The concept of digital play surfaces from the emergence of the digital age as a cultural context for young children's growth and development. Technically, as per Prof. Susan Edwards, Learning Sciences Institute Australia, the digital age commenced with the invention of the transistor in 1956 that enabled innovations in micro-processing, computing, and storage. 

Gradually, tech replaced thousands of books holding stories, cartoon characters, imaginary superheroes with digital e-readers and interactive learning games. Researchers now consider the use of technologies by young children as 'domesticated' which provides new opportunities for children's play. When combined with physical educational aids, these opportunities facilitate children's learning in a supreme way that was not possible in previous generations.  

The possibility to immensely expand a child’s learning universe has suddenly become real and is democratized. 

Child psychologists and educators emphasize the role of the following five tenets in every child’s early learning cycle. Technology is increasingly becoming a foundational pillar to support them:

Experiential Learning 

Children retain 75 per cent of what they do compare to 5 per cent of what they hear or 10 per cent of what they read. This is further enhanced when the child reflects on her or his experience and shares it with the peer group. In a continuous learning model, the children are first introduced to a concept through physical toys & puzzles. The same concept is reinforced by teachers through supportive activities and application in a live interactive session. Children would further immerse themselves and practice the concept in a multimedia environment through repetition. 

Hybrid learning models (Digital & Physical) 

Children may be introduced to a concept through physical aids however the learning is exponentially enhanced when it is illustrated in multiple ways through digital means. The ability to seamlessly explore, apply and transport concepts from one world to another is extremely powerful 

A case in point is how digital and physical elements are seamlessly integrated for children in games such as Pokémon GO, AmongUs, Roblox, etc. 

Peer Learning

Younger children may look to acquire knowledge from others in the group. And peer interaction benefits across a range of skills and concepts, such as puzzle completion, planning, math, and verbal memory. There is no better medium than digital to collaborate and interact with other children across geographies and age groups.  


Interestingly, the digitally native children respond better to multimedia than pure text, like graphics before text instead of after. They function best when networked in a peer-learning setup, respond to instant gratification and frequent rewards. They would prefer to pretend plays with their favourite customized cartoon characters. Online Avatar is a great emerging example of this trend both for immersive learning and higher engagement. 

The learning potential, thus, becomes unlimited and an expanding possibility where the best of digital tools and physical toys/aids are integrated. 

Omni-channel for Repetition and practice  

Children especially those between 0 to 6 years love repetition. What seems dry to adults, is a world of new learning for them, and repetition is much more than just doing the same thing twice or thrice. The familiarity with a concept and predictability of an outcome gives them an increased sense of confidence every time they revisit a game or puzzle.  

For young children, it is all about Play, Learn and Repeat. There is no better tool than digital to recreate and repeat such an environment to help children stay with the concept for days, weeks, or even months and years 

Digital play is here to stay. Service Providers, educators, parents, and policymakers cannot ignore that digital play is a facet of the digital age in which young children are growing up. It is an opportunity for building concepts and skills about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). 

When digital play is moderated with physical aids and outdoor activity, the holistic experience helps expand a child’s cognitive capacity. Through careful consideration and conscious choice, parents can ensure that young children have equal and equitable opportunities to participate in and thrive from digital play.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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