Emotion & Affect in Learning with Artificial Beings and Immersive VR

This is an expertise exchange in the Cyberlearning 2019 Expertise Exchange session

Session Leaders:
Yanghee Kim, Northern Illinois University
Lin Lin, University of North Texas

We feel therefore we are. Over several decades, emotion research has identified that emotions are integral part of our thinking, learning, and living. Much of the research on technology-based learning has built on this idea and considers the social and emotional experiences of learners as important determinants for learning progression and outcome. For example, learners, young or old, develop social and emotional relations with digital artificial beings (i.e., virtual agents and robots). Additionally, in a virtual-reality environment, learners experience the sensations of being there and demonstrate intense emotional, behavioral, and physiological responses similar to real life. These virtual relations and experiences modulate learners’ engagement with the task and their performance.

In this session, participants will jointly develop understandings of the current status of research on the link between emotion and cognition in social psychology and neuroscience. Kim will briefly discuss the relationships between learners and artificial beings; Lin will discuss users’ emotional experience in an immersive VR environment. In small and whole group exercises, the participants will be invited to work interactively on the important questions, opportunities, and challenges in research on emotions and learning in an advanced technology-enhanced context. Through this exchange, we will seek to build a focused, connected research community.