Cognitive and emotional dimensions are often linked to each other in learning experiences. Moreover, emotions and engagement can lead to better outcomes at the cognitive level. Previous research has indicated that virtual reality (VR) provides a feeling of presence and immersion, which can trigger emotionally engaging learning situations. In this study, we explore the opportunities and challenges related to the use of VR in an educational context. The focus of this article is threefold: First, we explore interdisciplinary research literature related to the use of VR for educational purposes. Second, we introduce our VR pilot study in teacher education, applying three different kinds of VR applications. During the pilot study, we utilized physiological measurements, the self-assessed experience of emotional involvement (PANAS; Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) and students’ qualitative reporting on VR experiences. Third, we discuss the potential of brain imaging methods such as EEG measures for capturing learning, performance, and emotions in VR and offer pedagogical guidelines for the future design of VR environments.
This study focuses on Finnish pre-service teachers' perceptions of their 21st century skills, especially their learning strategies, collaboration and teamwork, as well as knowledge and attitudes related to ICT in education. The target group consist of 263 first-year pre-service teachers from three universities. The results outline how pre-service teachers perceive their twenty-first century skills, the relationships between different areas of these skills, and the differences among preservice teachers in terms of perceived skills. The results indicate that the pre-service teachers perceive themselves as skilled learners in terms of learning strategies used as well as collaboration and teamwork. When it comes to understanding how to use ICT in education, they perceived their level of knowledge lower. The strongest variation between respondents was seen in the areas of knowledge and attitudes related to the use of ICT in education.
Current discussions in higher education and alumni training acknowledge the challenges training programs face in responding to the authentic needs of the labor market. In addition to academic knowledge, higher education institutions are expected to provide general 21st-century skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and interpersonal skills. To meet these challenges, many institutions utilize collaborative pedagogies such as learning in teams. However, teamwork in higher education tends to focus primarily on the task aspects of performance at the expense of the team aspects, and for educators, there may be no feasible way to assess whether the students are learning to work successfully as teams. This paper explores how new student teams (n = 3) that simulate real business teams by taking a challenging entrepreneur assessment, developed over three semesters for general skills (i.e., communication), and whether the improvement in their communication also indicated the teams' improved performance (i.e., financial success). As an analytical tool, the study relies on initial parameters on teams' microdynamics of communication (Losada, 1999) normalized with fuzzy logic. In accordance with the current understanding of team development, the results did not show any linear improvement, but the quality of communication in the teams improved episodically. Further, the results provide evidence of the possible relationship between the improved quality of communication and the teams' collective financial success. However, in future work, due to the lack of sensitivity of the parameters in this context together with the recent criticisms of the mathematical basis of the patterns of team dynamics based on Losada's parameters, they will be reexamined with a Monte Carlo sensitivity analysis.
To support the development of pupils' 21st-century skills, teachers themselves must also be competent in these skills and learn them during pre-service teacher education. The aim of this study is to investigate what kind of profiles emerge among Finnish first-year pre-service teachers' (N = 872) in terms of perceptions of their strategic learning skills and collaboration dispositions and what background variables explain membership of the profiles found. Latent profile analysis showed five student profiles corresponding to perceived strategic learning skills and collaboration dispositions. The most robust factor explaining the membership of the profiles was life satisfaction. Pre-service teachers in a profile group of high strategic learning skills and high collaboration dispositions showed the highest anticipated life satisfaction after five years. Obtaining a better understanding of pre-service teachers' skills and dispositions will provide the basis for deeper exploration of how they may acquire these skills and how instruction can better be designed to assist students in developing these skills.
This exploratory case study focuses on how pairs of students can build a shared understanding and acquire collaborative problem-solving (CPS) practices during an online assessment of CPS skills, which is seen in the context of the CPS construct, in a symmetrical and asymmetrical task type. Even though CPS is widely recognised as a core twenty-first-century competency, its nature is not yet well understood. Also, until recently, most of studies have focused on the individual's solution to a problem or on the skills individuals bring into a problem-solving space. This study extends from an individual-to group-level focus in CPS, emphasising the role and quality of the social aspects in CPS processes and outcomes. Focusing on the group level because it mediates multiple levels of learning, including individual cognition and socio-cultural practices, may provide us with a better understanding of how pairs establish CPS practices. Because of the complexity of CPS and the general challenges of remote collaboration in an online context, the study relies on the triangulation of multiple data sources and phases of analysis. In this paper, the aim is to explore and visualise through contrasting case-based portraits of two pairs how micro-interaction processes evolve at the pair level. The results show that despite students' similar CPS performance outcome scores and task designs aimed to facilitate collaboration, variations in micro-interactions occur across pairs, for example as individual and joint solution endeavours and as balanced and unbalanced dynamics of group interactions. Studying these patterns at the pair level may provide new insights into CPS and support strategies for acquiring these practices.
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