University of Oulu

Implementing process methods in learning research : targeting emotional responses in collaborative learning

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Author: Devai, Ricardo1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
Pages: 71
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : R. Devai, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-05-27
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Reviewer: Jokikokko, Katri
Järvenoja, Hanna


Context and aim: While interacting with peers and teachers in a collaborative learning task, students experience socio-emotional challenges and display emotional responses. These responses have two major components: arousal and valence, which influence the learning process and its outcomes. The aim of the study was twofold: first, to explore how group members’ arousal levels vary across different phases of a collaborative learning task; and second, to investigate how case students’ emotional responses are distributed in the arousal-valence space across the phases of the collaborative task.

Methods: Twelve 6th graders from a school of Finland participated in a collaborative task, in groups of three students. The task was to build an energy efficient house in three distinct phases: brainstorming, planning, and building. While performing the activity, students wore Empatica E4 wristbands to measure their electrodermal activity (EDA) and were video-recorded with 360° cameras. Arousal levels were calculated in peaks per min (ppm) and classified as low, middle, and high. Emotional valence was classified from video analysis into positive, neutral, and negative.

Results: The ranges for arousal levels were established between 26 and 88 ppm. Only two students displayed the same arousal level across the three phases of the experiment. Three students displayed higher arousal at first and then fell in to lower levels. Four students had the opposite experience and three students did not display a pattern. As for the case students, the student leading a poorly collaborating group experienced oscillating levels of arousal, from middle to high, and displayed a mix of negative and positive valence most of the time. The student loafing around experienced all arousal levels and positive valence most of the time.

Overall conclusions and relevance: The study allowed to establish measurement thresholds for arousal as a starting point for future studies in collaborative learning and the arousal-valence space provided a quantifiable picture to help teachers understand the importance of emotional responses in classroom during collaborative learning.

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Copyright information: © Ricardo Devai, 2019. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.