PSU faculty member to explore student self-regulated learning via wearable tech

April 27, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Rayne Sperling, associate professor of educational psychology and director of undergraduate and graduate studies, educational psychology, counseling and special education (EPCSE) at Penn State, is studying how wearable and accessible technologies, such as the Apple Watch, can support students’ self-regulated learning to lead to greater academic success.

Self-regulated learning is guided by students’ knowledge, metacognitive skills, strategies, and motivation. Self-regulated learners are engaged and effective independent learners who are able to monitor and control their learning and motivation. New technologies such as the Apple Watch are providing opportunities to reach students in unique ways to support their self-regulated learning strategies to excel in academic situations.

"We are excited to examine how the Apple Watch can reach and engage learners," said Sperling. "We will be using the Apple Watch as a new mechanism to provide academic scaffolds that target students’ monitoring of their learning and academic progress as well as specific strategies students can use as they learn course content. In working with instructors, we hope to discover opportunities for practice and feedback through the Watch. These technologies hold great promise to provide additional support to assist students as they navigate their academic experiences."

As a 2015 Faculty Fellow with Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT), a unit of Information Technology Services at Penn State, Sperling will be conducting a pilot over the course of the summer followed by design experiments and large scale studies through the 2015-16 academic year to examine the impact and effectiveness of delivering self-regulated learning supports through wearable devices. "Wearable devices are unique because they can co-exist with the student, in a virtually transparent way, at the moment of learning," said TLT’s Kyle Bowen. Bowen added, "Using mobile devices, like smart phones and tablets, enables students to consume information and create content. Wearable technologies, like the Apple Watch, enable a new layer of reflection that students can use to evaluate their learning experiences." Comparing the results of the pilot to delivering similar supports via existing mechanisms such as course management sites will help Sperling gain a better understanding regarding technologies that support student academic success. This information will provide a foundation for future efforts that leverage wearable technologies to improve instruction and learning

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Last Updated April 28, 2015