AAAI Publications, Twenty-Third International FLAIRS Conference

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An Empirical Examination of the Relation Between Attention and Motivation in Computer-Based Education: a Modeling Approach
Genaro Rebolledo-Mendez, Sara de Freitas, Jose Rafael Rojano-Caceres, Alma Rosa Garcia-Gaona

Last modified: 2010-05-06


Attention is considered a pre-requisite to achieve greater motivation in the classroom. However, empirical evidence of this relationship in educational setting is scarce since the measurement of attention requires specialized equipment such as clinical electroencephalograms (EEG) or fMRI. With the advent of portable, consumer-oriented EEG it is now possible to estimate levels of attention and shed light onto this relationship in the context of a computer-based educational setting. To that end, students (N=40) interacted for an average of 9.48 minutes (SD = .0018) with an assessment exercise in a virtual world. Participants’ attention levels were monitored via a portable EEG and incorporated into an attention model capable of deciding on strategies to correct low levels of attention. The participants’ motivation was assessed using a self-reported motivation questionnaire at pre-test and post-test times. The results indicated that students with higher self-reported motivation and self-reported attention answered significantly more correct answers. However, no direct evidence was found of a relation between EEG readings and self-reported attention or self-reported motivation. This suggests student’s own perceptions of motivation and attention influence performance. Future work consists of defining new models of attention considering self-perceived attention and motivation as baseline as well as improving the model of attention combining EEG reading with an indication of the students’ gaze.

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