The Influence of Flow in the Measure of Engagement

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Title: The Influence of Flow in the Measure of Engagement
Author: Sharek, David
Advisors: Anne McLaughlin, Committee Member
Christopher Mayhorn, Committee Member
Eric Wiebe , Committee Chair
Abstract: eLearning courses are often perceived by their audiences to not be engaging enough to warrant the time and cognitive resources necessary to complete them. Flow Theory’s assessment of optimal experiences (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) provides insight into understanding user engagement by analyzing the interactions between user skill and task challenge. By designing courses that help users maintain a state of flow through a balance of user skill and task challenge, eLearning courses may better manage the struggle between frustration and boredom and lead to higher levels of engagement. This study investigates a novel technique for measuring task engagement by capturing user behavior data with little-to-no interference with the task. Results indicate that the measurement tool could potentially be used to extrapolate when cognitive overload occurs by helping to identify where in a task a person may reach a point of disengagement, and where they may choose to remain engaged. Implications and future research goals are discussed.
Date: 2010-02-19
Degree: MS
Discipline: Psychology

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