Department of Education

Research projects

The potential of biophysiology for understanding learning and teaching experiences

This project is interested in the links between body and mind in educational contexts in real-time. It is also interested in the situation-specific perceptions, beliefs and behaviours students and teachers have, and how these change from one situation to another, known as a “process perspective”.

Modern technology affords user-friendly and cost-efficient ways of collecting objective measures of biophysiology using unobtrusive wearable devices (e.g., heartrate monitors, accelerometers). Such ambulatory devices allow us extend existing laboratory-based into the real world.

Three meetings will be held over the next two years: on heart-rate and electrodermal activity in 9 Jan 2019 in Utrecht, NL, accelerometer (physical activity and rest) 6 June 2019 in Oxford, UK, and cortisal (stress) in winter 2019/20 (Jyväskylä, Finland, date T B C).

Each meeting invited presenters will cover both substantive and technical research questions:

(1) To what extent and in what ways does biophysiology predict learning experiences, or learning experiences predict biophysiological reactions, or both?

(2) To what degree can biophysiological measures serve as valid indicators for learning processes?

(3) How do we collect, manage, process and analyze biophysiological data to link with learning experience data and optimally inform educational processes?

(4) What different statistical methods we can use for analysis that each informs distinct aspects of educational learning processes?

Other external project members include: Tim Mainhard (Utrecht University, The Netherlands), Eija Pakarinen (Univeristy of Jyväskylä, Finland), Lucia Mason, Sara Scrimin (Univeristy of Padova, Italy), Andrew Martin, Joel Pearson (University of New South Wales, Australia)

Funder: The European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) and Jacobs Foundation
Start date: Autumn 2018
End date: Summer 2020

More information: earli.org/efg-02

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