Analyzing how emotion awareness influences students’ motivation, engagement, self-regulation and learning outcome

By Dr. Thanasis Daradoumis, Associate Professor at the University of the Aegean (Greece) and Associate Professor at UOC (Spain), and Dr. Marta Arguedas, who holds a Ph.D. in Education and ICT (e-learning) from UOC.

Emotion awareness and affective feedback emerge as important factors that influence learning process and learners’ performance [1]. To foster effective learning, teachers employ a student-centered constructivist approach, involving different cognitive and collaborative learning strategies. The combination of all these four elements leads to an integrated framework that aims to improve students’ motivation, engagement and self-regulation, and ultimately students’ learning outcome and skills during their collaborative learning processes (Figure 1).

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Figure 1. Key factors that lead to effective learning outcome and skills

The analysis of data collected during an experimental research performed in a high school setting showed that when students were aware of their own emotions as well as of their peers’ emotions, when they felt negative emotions such as anxiety or frustration, little more than half of them felt unsafe; however, they were able to maintain at least a minimum interest on the activity. This was even more obvious when they were feeling sad. In this case, they were able to receive and provide suggestions and opinions in a constructive way, thus they managed to maintain their engagement during the development of the activity. As a consequence, we draw the conclusion that there is a significant positive correlation between emotion awareness and students’ motivation and engagement in learning.

Moreover, students with emotion awareness achieved much better results in self-regulating aspects such as have a more timely participation in the activity, provide the necessary changes that could lead towards a more positive behavior faster, have a more timely involvement to create and share knowledge, reach a better performance before it’s too late, and achieve a more balanced distribution of their workload. Thus, students achieved an effective knowledge management that contributed to enhance teamwork and a more effective development of the activity. Considering learning outcome, these students performed better and achieved better learning outcomes since they were able to build high degree of group solidarity and cohesion, which favors trust and engagement among the members of the group. Having the potential of emotion awareness of themselves and their peers during the whole activity provides students with an important tool to develop emotional competence for the group and thus build an emotionally intelligent team. As a result, we can claim that there is a significant positive correlation between emotion awareness and students’ self-regulation and learning outcome.

Finally, the teacher when s/he is given the capability of being aware of students’ emotions can intervene and support students with affective feedback that, at an initial level, can involve dynamic methodologies to motivate students to learn, encourage and motivate students’ individual work, share it with the team and resolve students’ questions offering advice and suggestions. At a second level, teacher can facilitate group discussion to manage emotions and attend students’ feelings when there is a conflict in the group. In particular, when the students were aware of their emotions, they emphasized more their need to ask for emotional support by the teacher when there was a conflict in the group. The result of the teacher intervention made these students feel happy, motivated, concentrated, safe, show more solidarity to their peers, encouraged to provide more suggestions and opinions, as well as be more capable of resolving conflicts. All in all, this analysis proves that there is a significant positive correlation between emotion awareness and teacher’s attitude and feedback.

For more research results in this area, please consult the research papers [2,3].

[1] Arguedas, M., Daradoumis, T. and Xhafa, F. (2016). Analyzing how emotion awareness influences students’ motivation, engagement, self-regulation and learning outcome. Educational Technology & Society, Special Issue on “Intelligent and Affective Learning Environments: New Trends and Challenges”, ISSN: 1176-3647, 19 (2), 87-103.

[2] Arguedas, M., Daradoumis, T. and Xhafa, F. (2016). Analyzing the effects of emotion management on time and self-management in computer-based learning. Computers in Human Behavior (CHB), 63, 517-529. ISSN: 0747-5632. Elsevier.

[3] Arguedas, M., Xhafa, F., Casillas, L., Daradoumis, T., Peña, A. and Caballé, S. (2016). A model for providing emotion awareness and feedback using fuzzy logic in online learning. Soft Computing, 1-15. ISSN: 1432-7643. Springer.

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