Advancing research and collaborations for studying emotions in collaborative learning

Emotions are the cornerstone of human behavior. In modern society, where ways of learning and working are becoming increasingly social and collaborative, emotions, and the human ability to manage them play an important part.
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A year ago, I defended my doctoral dissertation on emotion regulation in collaborative learning the results of which showed that students show a wide range of emotional reactions when working together with peers but cannot always take control over and manage them. Teaching students how to be aware of their emotions and how to regulate them together as a group can significantly improve their emotional states and contribute to their collaborative learning skills as well. In our research at LET Lab, we strive to provide empirical evidence and possible practical solutions to this, and one area that has been significantly boosting our research is our international collaborations.

To strengthen my expertise in the field of emotions and emotion regulation and network internationally, I went on a research visit to Prof. Jason Harley’s SAILS Lab in the McGill University, Montreal, Canada in October 2023. The visit was enabled by The European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) Mentoring Grant for JURE members and University of Oulu Hybrid Intelligence programme.

The visit offered a great possibility to initiate discussions between the top research labs studying emotions and emotion regulation in collaborative learning on how to communicate and align our research designs and methods to build a more consistent and cumulative evidence of the phenomena. Through this collaboration, we were able to share our approaches to collecting and analyzing multimodal multichannel data and started working towards shared analysis protocols for physiological and video data. The long fruitful scientific discussions and exchange of ideas with Jason and other experts in my field were an excellent boost to our shared theoretical understanding of the topic. For example, I had a chance to visit Assist. Prof. Nikki Lobczowski’s CREATE Lab and participate in the research event with many experts working in the field of emotions and emotion regulation in education.

All of this, however, would not be possible without funding. I was incredibly lucky to receive the EARLI mentoring grant, which is aimed to support the early phases of postdoctoral career. This grant is very instrumental when it comes to post-PhD life and career building, as this is the phase of the academic path when mentoring and career guidance are especially useful. I got an opportunity to spend four weeks developing my expertise by sharing experiences and collaborating with Prof. Harley and the SAILS lab members. Prof. Harley did their best guiding me in strategic career planning, networking, and postdoctoral research funding applications, which I am sure will help me in continuing my academic path and for which I am immensely grateful.

I would like to encourage junior researchers especially to search for opportunities to go on a research visit – even the shorter ones can be a valuable asset for widening your skills, expertise, and networks, but also for reflecting on your personal and professional strengths in relation to the different career options. So, if you are interested in such an opportunity, wait no more and apply for the ongoing EARLI Mentoring Grant Call which ends on 12th of March 2024 (midnight CET)!

About the authors:
Kateryna Zabolotna helped Tiina Törmänen to write the blog post about Tiina's research.


Tiina Törmänen
Learning and Learning Process
University of Oulu

Postdoctoral researcher Tiina Törmänen is interested in emotions, motivation, and socially shared regulation in collaborative learning, and how to study these processes with multimodal multichannel data.

Learning and Learning Process
University of Oulu

Kateryna Zabolotna is a doctoral researcher at the LET Lab. Her dissertation explores how socially shared regulation of learning and knowledge construction interplay and support one another in various collaborative learning contexts.