Have you ever considered the role emotions play in the learning process? Could awareness of emotions coupled with effective feedback have a positive impact on learning?
Researchers Arguedas, Daradoumis & Xhafa (2016) investigated the role emotional awareness has as it relates to both the student and the educator. In the article “Analyzing How Emotional Awareness Influences Students’ Motivation, Engagement, Self-Regulation and Learning Outcome,” the authors found a correlation between emotional awareness and learning outcomes during the learning process.
Using the Jigsaw as the collaborative learning strategy in an introductory computer science course, the study was designed to see how emotional awareness affected student learning. The experimental group (EG) was provided feedback and insight about their emotional state during the learning process, while members in the control group (CG) of students were not provided this information.
Throughout the 15 learning sessions, each group periodically self-reported on their emotional state and the educator provided feedback accordingly. The differences between the two groups are as follows:
1. MOTIVATION and ENGAGEMENT: Both groups displayed high levels of motivation and engagement when experiencing positive emotions (ex: happiness, joy, satisfaction.) When negative emotions were experienced (ex: frustration, anxiety, sadness), the CG became bored, lost motivation to continue the activity and displayed a lack of confidence.
In contrast, the EG scored significantly higher and were able to maintain interest in the activity. Additionally, they provided suggestions and opinions in a constructive way and remained engaged during the learning process.
2. SELF-REGULATION: The CG scored significantly lower when measuring areas related to self-regulation. Those areas included timely participation in the activity, necessary changes to lead to more positive behavior faster, and creating/sharing knowledge.
Additionally, the EG also scored higher in effective knowledge management which led to enhanced team work and more effective development of the activity learning outcome.
The CG needed more support and feedback from the educator when compared to the EG. The EG also asked for more emotional support to resolve group conflict and the educator’s feedback was more focused. The researchers also concluded that the educator’s attitude and feedback were crucial throughout the learning process for both groups.
As the study suggests, students who are aware of their emotions become more conscious of their situation. This awareness led to a change in behavior while engaging in learning activities. Additionally, these changes improved students’ motivation, engagement, and self-regulation, which led to better learning outcomes.
As educators, we are constantly searching for strategies to keep our students engaged and motivated during the learning process. Perhaps providing appropriate feedback and support while allowing students to identify negative emotions during learning activities will equip them with another tool to persist. Helping students stay on course, remain on task, and reach their educational goals is the epitome of success for educators.