Seeking optimal confusion

a review on epistemic emotion management in interactive digital learning environments

Amaël Arguel*, Lori Lockyer, Gregor Kennedy, Jason M. Lodge, Mariya Pachman

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Emotions play a significant part in students’ learning experiences within complex educational environments. However, the impact of emotional experiences on effective learning is not straightforward. For example, being confused during learning may be perceived as an adverse event. There is, however, considerable research evidence suggesting that confusion can also be a productive aspect of a student's learning processes. Despite this, research also suggests that when confusion is persistent it can become harmful, promoting learner frustration or boredom. Key challenges for the design of interactive digital learning environments (IDLEs) are to detect and assess students’ emotions and to tailor the environment accordingly. In this paper we examine, from a review of the literature, the implications of learners’ confusion that can occur in IDLEs. Strategies for managing students’ confusion will then be discussed and examples of features enhancing learning in IDLEs will be suggested.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)200-210
    Number of pages11
    JournalInteractive Learning Environments
    Issue number2
    Early online date6 Apr 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • emotional response
    • confusion
    • feedback
    • learning processes
    • instructional design
    • self-regulation

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