Research Ideas

Hyejin’s current & future research ideas


My research & scholarly interest lies in investigating students’ cognitive processes in relation to emerging technologies. Specifically, I am currently concentrating on how technological tools can facilitate positive learning dynamics by addressing students’ affective domain. In the future, I would like to explore fostering critical thinking skills in the technology-integrated learning environment.

During my Master’s degree, my core project was to design a prototype of an emotion-assisting mobile application (working title: Lello!) using the Design-Based Research method. This app quantitatively evaluates and visualizes students’ emotional trends; the primary purpose being to enhance the emotional awareness of the user, thereby promoting emotional self-regulation, a concept shown to be significantly linked to learning processes. 

This app offers periodical analyses to lay out emotional trends and uses visual tools to help the user gauge their emotional trends. In fact, 75% of project participants said it helped them better understand their feelings. As emotional awareness is significantly related to learner’s self-regulation, I believe my study will provide meaningful implications for facilitating learning through technology. 

During my next journey as a PhD candidate, I would like to develop the prototype of ‘Lello!’ into a fully functioning app and study how learning changes through its implementation. With this study, I want to help students regulate their negative emotions so that their learning and performance can be enhanced. In another line of research, after dealing with the preliminary condition of the effective learning (i.e., emotional status), I want to delve into creating a more responsive learning environment that augments learner’s critical thinking with the help of educational technologies.

Research Questions

RQ1. How does metacognitive self-reflectivity in students’ emotional awareness impact their learning and cognitive processes?
RQ2. Does enhanced emotional self-regulation positively influence student’s motivation and learning?
RQ3. How do K-12 students’ capabilities to manage their feelings (i.e., emotional self-regulation) change while using a self-emotion reporting tool?
RQ3. How efficient and helpful is it for the teachers to manage a classroom and understand students with the self-emotion reporting tool?
RQ4. To what extent is the self-emotion reporting tool helpful for understanding users’ feelings?


Existing research has shown a strong causal relationship between students’ emotional status and their learning processes. It is uncovered that emotional state has a critical influence on cognitive processes (Tyng, Amin, Saad, & Malik, 2017), including attention (Vuilleumier, 2005), learning and memory (Phelps, 2004; Um et al., 2012), reasoning (Jung et al., 2014), and problem-solving (Isen et al., 1987). In this respect, the emotional status of learners should be assessed and identified, and then reflected in teaching and learning environment design to facilitate learning. 

Coupled with this need to analyze learner’s affective factors, calls for approaches to managing and dealing with students’ stress are increasing. For decades, experts have warned about the onset of a mental health crisis among students. Now, in this situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s a state of emergency. Forced at-home study has led the youth to suffer depression and be trapped in an abusive environment.

Given these academic and social needs, the paucity of tools to assist teachers and teachers in recognizing emotions based on sound criteria and statistical data is striking. This Design-Based Research (DBR) project is to fill this void in the field of educational technology and address the affective domain of learning with the emotion-assisting app (working title: “Lello!”). This project involved the creation of a mobile application that provides a visual report of the students’ aggregate emotional status. The aims of this application are: 1) to enable teachers to identify the overall emotions of groups and individual students and thereby improve teaching; and 2) to help students enhance their metacognitive self-reflectivity in emotional awareness to facilitate learning. 

Related Presentation

This poster was presented at the Design and Development Showcase of the 2020 AECT International Convention. Click the image below to browse the poster.


Goleman, D., Boyatzis R., Davidson R. J., Druskat V., Kohlrieser, G. (2017). Emotional Self-Awareness: A Primer. More Than Sound, LLC

Isen, A. M., Daubman, K. A., and Nowicki, G. P. (1987). Positive affect facilitates creative problem solving. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 52, 1122–1131.

Jung, N., Wranke, C., Hamburger, K., and Knauff, M. (2014). How emotions affect logical reasoning: evidence from experiments with mood-manipulated participants, spider phobics, and people with exam anxiety. Front. Psychol. 5:570.

Phelps, E. A. (2004). Human emotion and memory: interactions of the amygdala and hippocampal complex. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 14, 198–202.

Sacharin, V., Schlegel, K., & Scherer, K. R. (2012). Geneva Emotion Wheel rating study (Report). Geneva, Switzerland: University of Geneva, Swiss Center for Affective Sciences.

Scherer, K. R. (2005). What are emotions? And how can they be measured? Social Science Information, 44(4), 693-727.

Scherer, K.R., Shuman, V., Fontaine, J.R.J, & Soriano, C. (2013). The GRID meets the Wheel: Assessing emotional feeling via self-report. In Johnny R.J. Fontaine, Klaus R. Scherer & C. Soriano (Eds.), Components of Emotional Meaning: A sourcebook (pp. 281-298). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tyng, C., Amin, H., Saad, M., & Malik, A. (2017). The Influences of Emotion on Learning and Memory. Frontiers In Psychology, 8. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01454

Vuilleumier, P. (2005). How brains beware: neural mechanisms of emotional attention. Trends In Cognitive Sciences, 9(12), 585-594.