What does research say about emotion affecting learning behavior – Part 2

Part 1 of this blog talked about the psychological states called affective dimensions. Now, let us we look at another study conducted in year 2001  by Barry Kort, Rob Reilly, and Rosalind W. Piccard of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in which they have proposed the following model relating phases of learning to emotions.


If we juxtapose the two diagrams mentioned in the two parts of this blog, a very interesting observation follows. The first two dimensions of ‘pleasure’ and ‘misery’ in Russell’s diagram look to be logically analogous to ‘positive affect’ and ‘negative affect’ in Kort, Reilly and Piccard’s  model and the other two dimensions of ‘sleepiness’ and ‘arousal’ in Russell’s model corresponds logically to the ‘unlearning’ and ‘constructive learning’ behavior proposed in Kort, Reilly and Piccard’s model.


Is ‘sleepiness’ some kind of a sub-conscious state? It sounds logical. But ‘pleasure’ is definitely a state of ‘positive affect’. When a learner is ‘happy’ or in a ‘positive affect’ state and is sufficiently ‘aroused’ or ‘motivated’ then is the right time for acquisition or assimilation of knowledge. But for generation of new ideas and new knowledge, an individual has to pass through a state of ‘contentment’ achieved through ‘sub-conscious unlearning’.

Does e-learning take advantage of affective learning behavior of individuals? Mostly not, but wherever and whenever it does, it is successful – both for the learner and for the learning provider.

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