Beyond Boredom: Modeling and Promoting Engagement during Complex Learning

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

The core research question is how a tripartite approach consisting of interactions between the learners (i.e., individual differences), the instructional materials (i.e., the text), and the learning activities (i.e., the task) modulate engagement during learning of critical thinking skills. This fundamental question will be addressed with a suite of experiments that will systematically test how these three factors (the task, the text, and the learner) interact to influence engagement. Insights gleaned from this basic research program will be implemented in a computer program that aims to increase engagement and learning by selecting activities and materials in a manner that is dynamically sensitive to individual learners.

Setting: 

Memphis, TN

Research Design: 

The project uses a comparative research design and will generate evidence that is causal [experimental]. Original data will be collected on college students using assessments of learning [assessments, achievement tests], observation [videography] and physiological monitoring [eye tracking]. An intervention that uses automatic selection of text and topic for individual learners will be compared with a random selection of text and topic. Instruments or measures being used include eye-tracker, galvanic skin response sensors, and cameras.

The analysis plan for this project includes: (1) standard statistical models (ANOVAs, regressions, etc.) for coarse grained measures, (2) mixed-effects models for fine-grained measures, (3) recurrence quantification analysis for time series data, and (4) machine learning techniques for eye gaze and physiological data.

Findings: 

Findings will be posted as they become available.

Publications & Presentations: 

Please see https://sites.google.com/site/memphisemotivecomputing/ for a complete list of publications related to this project.

Other Products: 

This project will generate an adaptive text and topic selection computer program to increase engagement and learning.