T6-AL1-3 - Emotion Awareness in Design-Based Learning

3. Research Full Paper
Feiran Zhang1 , Panos Markopoulos1, Tilde Bekker1
1 Eindhoven University of Technology

Design-based learning (DBL) is an educational approach that enables students to learn through a sequence of design activities in a project-based learning or problem-based learning environment. This educational approach has been applied in diverse contexts, and in particular, has been regarded as a promising educational concept for engineering education considering that design is a core element in engineering.

Being self-aware of emotions experienced in DBL is essential for students. It is not only because DBL is an emotional place where situations such as collaboration, negotiation with peers, or conflicts in teamwork may evoke students’ emotions, and consequently, students need to develop the abilities to identify their emotions timely during the process. It is also because students following such an active learning approach have to take responsibility for their projects and develop abilities to control their own emotions. However, emotion awareness in DBL demands students’ extra effort to locate the antecedents of their emotions from the intricate design and inquiry process. Moreover, little is known yet on how to facilitate emotion awareness during DBL.

It has been advocated by Quantified Self (QS) trend that self-tracking and gaining its corresponding data-based insights help foster positive behavioral change. Grounded in the QS concept and experience sampling technique, prior research has been developed EmoForm, a paper-based self-reporting tool, to capture students’ emotions and learning experience in DBL. However, our understanding of whether and how a self-tracking tool facilitates emotion awareness in DBL is still lacking. Therefore, we report on a case study of evaluating students’ experience of self-tracking with EmoForm in a DBL program in the applied science university level. A total of thirteen 3rd year undergraduate students used EmoForm for five times during the DBL program and then participated in a one-on-one semi-structured interview. Data analysis in this paper followed the thematic analysis approach. Specifically, this study intends to understand the following three research questions. Q1: Whether and how does EmoForm facilitate students’ emotional awareness? Q2: How did students experience using EmoForm? Q3: What are strategies perceived by students for facilitating emotion awareness in DBL?

Empirical results in this study confirmed the assumed influence of self-tracking with EmoForm in facilitating emotion awareness, which is also consistent with the findings relating to behavior tracking in previous research. In particular, the effect of EmoForm in this study reflected on three aspects: (i) it encouraged communication and accountability of students’ internal states; (ii) it increased students’ awareness and understanding of self, and (iii) it stimulated behavior change. Furthermore, our study identified some design choices to be taken into account in related emotion awareness tool development for the DBL classroom. Finally, we present the summary of strategies towards emotion awareness in DBL and discuss the design implications for future studies that may include (i) exploring strategies for choosing appropriate timing for self-report of emotions to avoid disruption; (ii) exploring ways of data visualization supporting explicit cross-referencing.