As Prof. Paul Kirschner stated on our earlier blog post, we are reaching for “new” objective forms of data on SLAM project. This also explains why research infrastructure and tools play a major role in this research. The SLAM pilot data was gathered in the LeaForum research laboratory. What is LeaForum and what does it have to offer for learning research?
LeaForum is a space located in the University of Oulu and it can be used for research, teaching and business purposes. At a quick glance LeaForum looks like a really modern classroom or seminar space but looking closely it can be quickly seen that there is more to it. LeaForum allows many different kinds of uses, and it is especially suited for technology supported learning and interaction purposes. Modern observation and recording systems are smoothly integrated in the LeaForum facility.
Collaboration requires a flexible learning environment. This aspect has been taken into account already in the design process of LeaForum, and the architectural choices were made based on research. The spacious room is dividable in three sections and the multifunctional furniture allows a variety of group formations. For example in the SLAM pilot data collection we organized the setting so that students could comfortably work in small groups without disturbing each other.
Multimodal recording and analysis
High-tech recording equipment is also important part of LeaForums infrastructure. For example the MORE recording system is especially useful in learning research. It utilizes a multichannel approach in data collection and records audio using individual audio channels and video in 360 degrees. This ensures recording of the learning process as accurately as possible. The system also uses advanced signal analyzing techniques such as speech processing, motion activity detection and facial expression detection. The facial expression detection is used as also in SLAM pilot. The MORE system can also be used as a travel version in a classroom setting.
The laboratory has a wide variety of equipment that can be used in collaborative learning, such as tablets, interactive video projectors, interactive tables, whiteboards etc. Equipment also includes variety of possibilities for psychophysiological data recording. In the SLAM pilot we used wireless bracelets (Empatica E3) as a main recording device for psychophysiological measures. We also collected eye-tracking data with SMI eye tracking glasses. Collaboration with the professional staff of LeaForum has made this all possible.
In future SLAM project heads towards even more ecologically valid environments, real classrooms. Modern and mobile research equipment of LeaForum will be used to capture the events as accurately as possible. Before that we have many challenges to face concerning research setting, environment and tools. The goal is to combine the objectivity of multimodal methods and learning analytics to situational “real world” research setting as well as possible. Let’s see how far we can get!