On Affective States in Computational Cognitive Practice through Visual and Musical Modalities

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Virginia Tech


Learners' affective states correlate with learning outcomes. A key aspect of instructional design is the choice of modalities by which learners interact with instructional content. The existing literature focuses on quantifying learning outcomes without quantifying learners' affective states during instructional activities. An investigation of how learners feel during instructional activities will inform the instructional systems design methodology of a method for quantifying the effects of individually available modalities on learners' affect.

The objective of this dissertation is to investigate the relationship between affective states and learning modalities of instructional computing. During an instructional activity, learners' enjoyment, excitement, and motivation are measured before and after a computing activity offered in three distinct modalities. The modalities concentrate on visual and musical computing for the practice of computational thinking. An affective model for the practice of computational thinking through musical expression was developed and validated.

This dissertation begins with a literature review of relevant theories on embodied cognition, learning, and affective states. It continues with designing and fabricating a prototype instructional apparatus and its virtual simulation as a web service, both for the practice of computational thinking through musical expression, and concludes with a study investigating participants' affective states before and after four distinct online computing activities.

This dissertation builds on and contributes to extant literature by validating an affective model for computational thinking practice through self-expression. It also proposes a nomological network for the construct of computational thinking for future exploration of the construct, and develops a method for the assessment of instructional activities based on predefined levels of skill and knowledge.



Affective States, Musical Computing, Multimodal Interaction, Computational Thinking