University of Oulu

Timonen, L., Juuti, K., & Harmoinen, S. (2022). Learning enhancing emotions predict student retention: Multilevel emotions of Finnish university physics students in and outside learning situations. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 18(2), 020126.

Learning enhancing emotions predict student retention : multilevel emotions of Finnish university physics students in and outside learning situations

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Author: Timonen, Laura1,2; Juuti, Kalle3; Harmoinen, Sari2
Organizations: 1Nano and molecular systems research unit, Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2Learning and learning processes research unit, Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 2000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
3Department of Education, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 9, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: American Physical Society, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-10-18


Research on student retention in higher education (HE) physics could benefit by studying emotions in the context of engagement and learning. However, popular retention theories include only a narrow selection of emotions, creating a need to look elsewhere. In this study, we borrow the lens of an affective engagement model, the framework of an optimal learning moment, which has rarely been used in HE research so far. It defines situational engagement and three categories of learning enhancing, detracting, or accelerating emotions via twelve singular situational emotions. These twelve emotions in learning and other situations form intensive longitudinal data collected from twenty students using the experience sampling method (ESM) during their first two months of studying physics in a Finnish university. A twolevel hierarchical dataset consisting of ESM measures (N₁ = 440) and student records (N₂ = 20), with gender as a background factor, are analyzed in two steps: first with hierarchical linear modeling, followed by multinomial logistic regression, giving results on both levels of the hierarchy, which is quite uncommon still. The results show how situational engagement and learning situations are separately connected to situational emotions and, further, how especially the learning enhancing emotions connect to success in courses (passing, grades) and first year student retention, surpassing the effect of course success.

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Series: Physical review. Physics education research
ISSN: 2469-9896
ISSN-E: 2469-9896
ISSN-L: 2469-9896
Volume: 18
Issue: 2
Article number: 020126
DOI: 10.1103/physrevphyseducres.18.020126
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 114 Physical sciences
516 Educational sciences
Funding: The work of L. T. was funded by the Nano and molecular research unit and Faculty of Education, both from University of Oulu, Finland.
Copyright information: © Published by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the published article’s title, journal citation, and DOI.