Comparing the Incidence and Persistence of Learners’ Affect During Interactions with Different Educational Software Packages

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Despite the increasing number of studies investigating patterns of learner affective states, it is not yet clear to what degree student affective states vary among learning systems, and whether specific learning systems are associated with characteristic patterns of learner affect. In this chapter, we attempt to shed light on this question by discussing the incidence and persistence of affective states across seven learning environments, studied with an identical observation protocol in high schools in the Philippines. The studies, when taken together, reveal several patterns that transcend learning environment, domain, and population. Engaged concentration was the most common affective state, by a large margin, in all studies run in private schools in the Philippines; confusion was slightly more common than engaged concentration in the two public school studies. Delight was more common in the games than the other environments, but engaged concentration was not more prevalent, somewhat contrary to prior theory. Across all seven learning environments, boredom was persistent. Other negative affective states, such as frustration, were considerably less persistent. Educational games appeared to disrupt frustration more than intelligent tutors. Engaged concentration was persistent in many but not all studies.