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This is the ninth and final episode in a series recorded in London! In June 2018 we attended the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction conference (or, more simply, EARLI) for the special interest group on Neuroscience and Education (@EarliSIG22). While there, we recorded live interviews with teachers and researchers.
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Julien Mercier, professor at the University of Quebec at Montreal and director of NeuroLab, an educational neuroscience lab. Research in this lab focuses on cognition and affect during learning. This is done by collecting second-by-second (“on-line”) data from learners. The contexts in which these measures are collected include reading, science education, video games, and more applied workplace settings.
Because of the complexity of this type of research, experts from a diverse set of fields are needed to make the project come together. First the physiological data are collected. Then, all the data are integrated into one huge complex system, segmented, and analyzed to look for patterns in reactions. For example, in a study on video gaming, the researchers were interested in what happens when a player is given an action prompt. The researchers collected measures that tap into cognitive load and engagement, and compare the relative activation before and after the prompt was presented.
Through this research, Julien hopes to develop a methodology that will be able to handle much more complex learning situations than those currently considered in neuroscientific research.