Improving Online Learning with Facebook and Physiological Sensors

ASU educational technology doctoral student John Sadauskas demonstrates use of an EEG headset, one of three kinds of sensors helping researchers observe student behavior and physiological responses while using Facebook. The research project at the Learning Sciences Institute’s Advancing Next Generation Learning Environments (ANGLE) Lab at ASU is overseen by Associate Professor Robert Atkinson.

Photo by Andy DeLisle / © 2013 ASU / Used with permission

With over 2 billion users, Facebook is by far the most popular social network, especially on college campuses. However, the potential of social networks as learning tools is only just being realized. Little empirical, non-self-reported data on the usability of Facebook is available to researchers, and so it is difficult to determine which aspects of using Facebook make it so engaging and appealing, and furthermore, it is unclear which of these elements could be useful to integrate into learning environments.

With this in mind, this study asked undergraduate students to browse the site in a lab setting, using talk-alouds in conjunction with high-fidelity physiological sensors. By recording where students’ eyes were focused while using Facebook, the emotions they experienced, and the actual content they viewed, this study aimed to 1) provide a unique empirical baseline for undergraduate Facebook use; and 2) investigate which elements of the Facebook experience could be leveraged in online learning environments.

You can read more about this project in the following articles:

Stenger, M. (2013). ASU Researchers Study Facebook to Increase Student Motivation in Online Learning. InformED

Ringle, H. (2013). ASU studying how online learning can be as appealing as Facebook. Phoenix Business Journal.

Grega, K. (2013). Students research connections between Facebook, online learning. The State Press.