A4 Article in conference proceedings
Methodology Development in Adult Learning Research : Combining Physiological Reactions and Learning Experiences in Simulation-Based Learning Environments (2020)

Silvennoinen, M., Vesisenaho, M., Manu, M., Kullberg, T., Malinen, A., & Parviainen, T. (2020). Methodology Development in Adult Learning Research : Combining Physiological Reactions and Learning Experiences in Simulation-Based Learning Environments. In L. Gómez Chova, A. López Martínez, & I. Candel Torres (Eds.), EDULEARN20 Proceedings. 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (pp. 5037-5046). IATED. EDULEARN Proceedings. https://doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2020.1316

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsSilvennoinen, Minna; Vesisenaho, Mikko; Manu, Mari; Kullberg, Tiina; Malinen, Anita; Parviainen, Tiina

Parent publicationEDULEARN20 Proceedings. 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies

Parent publication editorsGómez Chova, L.; López Martínez, A.; Candel Torres, I.


  • International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies

Place and date of conferencePalma de Mallorca, Spain6.-8.7.2020


Journal or seriesEDULEARN Proceedings



Publication year2020

Pages range5037-5046


Publication countrySpain

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/71421


We aim to clarify whether physiological measurement technologies can be used in combination with traditional educational research methods to investigate learning experience. We developed an interdisciplinary research design for multilevel investigation of adult learning experience. We collected data in aviation simulations and forestry simulations, to show both similarities and differences between different learning situations. Both settings utilize high quality virtual simulations allowing learning to occur in near authentic situations.

The learning situations were structured pedagogically in a similar way. They involve learner-instructor interaction in a one-on-one setting and follow a traditional simulation-based learning protocol with preparation, action and debriefing. The instructor guides the learner through progressively more difficult simulation exercises, allowing to extract experiential, physiological and neurophysiological correlates that reliably associate with the demands of the learning in a naturalistic situation. 12 students and 4 teachers took part in the study. One student and one teacher were measured simultaneously during the learning situation. The data collection methods included both quantitative measures (synchronized heart rate variability, HRV, and electroencephalography, EEG, as well as structured questionnaires) and qualitative measures (individual interviews and video recordings). In addition to data collection during and immediately after the learning situations (1-2 hours measurements), HRV measures with an electronic diary were collected during a baseline period of 4 days. All learning situations were video recorded, and the recorded simulation exercises were annotated by the students during the interviews with a special emphasis on pointing out the episodes which were memorable and had particular meaning for learning.

The qualitative and quantitative data are first analysed independently. For the quantitative data, the focus is on extracting reliable artefact-free signatures that reflect the state and reactivity of autonomic and central nervous system along different learning situations and task demands. The analysis of qualitative data emphasises understanding the episodes that participants considered meaningful during learning. In the next stage, qualitative and quantitative data is interpreted together to identify the reproducible elements in physiology that reflect emotionally and learning-wise meaningful episodes, in the learner and instructor separately, and in the interaction (synchrony measures) between learner and instructor.

First priority is to establish understanding of the feasibility of achieving reliable physiological and neurophysiological correlates of learning experience during naturalistic learning situations. Second, if feasible, this type of design enables us to more comprehensively understand the factors that influence the individual experiences and success of learning interaction. Current theories concerning adult learning mainly approach learning at experiential (and psychological) level, and there is a lack of proper framework for integrating physiological measures in the same theory. Our holistic approach to adult learning thus enables also new research lines that can integrate individual experience, emotions, physiological and neurophysiological reactions during learning interaction.

Keywordslearninglearning experiencesadult educationlearning environmentsimulationsimulation trainingphysiological effectsneurophysiologyemotionspulsemeasurement

Free keywordsphysiological measurement; heart rate variability; eeg; learning experience; adult learning; emotion

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2020

JUFO rating0

Last updated on 2024-22-04 at 12:16