New publication: Measuring and Understanding Learner Emotions: Evidence and Prospects


The LACE project is pleased to announce the publication the first paper in the Learning Analytics Review series, Measuring and Understanding Learner Emotions: Evidence and Prospects. The paper by Bart Rienties and Bethany Alden Rivers from The Open University in the UK is a literature review of over 100 papers on emotions in learning and the methods that can be applied to analysing data on emotions. The abstract states:

Emotions play a critical role in the learning and teaching process because they impact on learners’ motivation, self-regulation and academic achievement. In this literature review of over 100 studies, we identify many different emotions that may have a positive, negative or neutral impact on learners’ attitudes, behaviour and cognition. We explore seven data gathering approaches to measure and understand emotions. With increased affordances of technologies to continuously measure emotions (e.g., facial and voice expressions with tablets and smart phones), in the near future it might become feasible to monitor learners’ emotions on a real-time basis.

The review summaries the benefits and drawbacks of methods for analysing existing learner emotions data including:

  • content analysis
  • natural language processing
  • identification of behavioural indicators

The review also offers a detailed analysis of methods to gather new data about learner emotions including;

  • quantitative instruments
  • offline interviews and purposeful online conversations
  • wellbeing word clouds
  • intelligent tutoring systems

The paper is the first of a series of reports and papers that the LACE project will publish over the next 18 months for the learning analytics community. While this review focuses on higher education, other papers will reflect other LACE communities in schools and the workplace.

The paper is available on the LACE project website at:

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About Author

Christina is currently the Cetis (Centre for Educational Technology, Interoperability and Standards) Editor a role which co-ordinates communications activities including publications and organising the Cetis conference. Before joining Cetis Christina an e-learning development officer at the University of Bangor, and before that was the manager of the CTI Biology Centre. Christina is supporting communications in the LACE project.

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