What makes learning fun? exploring the influence of choice and difficulty on mind wandering and engagement during learning

Caitlin Mills, Sidney D'Mello, Blair Lehman, Nigel Bosch, Amber Strain, Art Graesser

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Maintaining learner engagement is critical for all types of learning technologies. This study investigated how choice over a learning topic and the difficulty of the materials influenced mind wandering, engagement, and learning during a computerized learning task. 59 participants were randomly assigned to a text difficulty and choice condition (i.e., self-selected or experimenter-selected topic) and measures of mind wandering and engagement were collected during learning. Participants who studied the difficult version of the texts reported significantly higher rates of mind wandering (d =.41) and lower arousal both during (d =.52) and after the learning session (d =.48). Mind wandering and arousal were not affected by choice. However, participants who were assigned to study the topic they selected reported significantly more positive valence during (d =.57) but not after learning. These participants also scored substantially higher on a subsequent knowledge test (d = 1.27). These results suggest that choice and text difficulty differentially impact mind wandering, engagement, and learning and provide important considerations for the design of ITSs and serious games with a reading component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationArtificial Intelligence in Education - 16th International Conference, AIED 2013, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer
Pages71-80
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9783642391118
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 16 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event16th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, AIED 2013 - Memphis, TN, United States
Duration: Jul 9 2013Jul 13 2013

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume7926 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Other

Other16th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, AIED 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMemphis, TN
Period7/9/137/13/13

Keywords

  • Affect
  • Engagement
  • Mind wandering
  • Reading
  • Serious games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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