Dottore di ricerca

ciclo: XXXVI

supervisore: Prof. Fabio Babiloni
relatore: Prof. Fabio Babiloni
co-supervisore: Gianluca di Flumeri Ph.D.

Titolo della tesi: Education and Neuroscience: how to assess and improve learning effectiveness by evaluating students’ cognitive experience

Nowadays, fostered by technological progress and contextual circumstances such as the economic crisis and pandemic restrictions, remote education is experiencing growing deployment. Online education has become technologically, economically, and operationally viable. However, this growth has generated widespread doubts about the actual effectiveness of remote/online learning compared to face-to-face education. Moreover, as already said, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the widespread adoption of online/remote learning as an alternative to in-person activities making this topic of great interest. Therefore, there is now the need of better investigating this concern, trying to understand which are actually the impacts of the different education modalities on the student experience, taking the student and its cognitive and emotional dimensions absolutely into account. In this scenario, scientific community turned to neuroscientific tools and methodologies in order to obtain aggregate and synthetic indicators of cognitive phenomena in order to assess students’ experiences from a psychophysiological point of view and, therefore, to investigate the differences between the different modalities. A lot of works has been published on this topic, but without tackling the matter in a comprehensive way. In fact, previous research tended to focus on only one specific modality, i.e., in-person or remote lesson, and on one specific cognitive and mental state, mainly attention and/or concentration, and by employing just one technology, i.e., EEG or EDA or Eye-Tracking, rather than adopting a comprehensive multimodal perspective. My PhD project was aimed at developing and employing a multimodal approach based on neurophysiological monitoring to compare the different modalities. The use of neuroscientific methodologies should guarantee a deeper and more objective evaluation of students’ experience, being based on the direct analysis of mental and physiological reactions. The main experimental study involved forty students enrolled in a driving school, who experienced both face-to-face and remote learning modalities in a real classroom setting. To gain insights into the cognitive dimension in a less invasive way, wearable devices were used to measure neurophysiological signals, including ocular movements, heart rate, and sweating activity. Specifically, six parameters were considered: the Eye Blink Rate, the Eye Blink Amplitude, the Eye Blink Duration, the Heart Rate and its Variability, and the Skin Conductance Level. Additionally, at the end of the session, the students completed a questionnaire to provide explicit feedback on their learning performance. The data analysis revealed that students exhibited higher cognitive activity, characterized by increased attention and mental engagement, during in-person learning compared to the remote modality. Additionally, students in the remote class reported feeling more stressed, particularly during the initial part of the lesson. Moreover, the analysis of the questionnaires showed that the remote group demonstrated worse performance, suggesting a common "disengaging" behaviour when attending remote courses, ultimately impacting their learning effectiveness. Building upon the methodologies and results obtained in this research, a final show-case study was conducted in order to investigate the possibility of also assessing the effectiveness of different types of educational materials, namely traditional presentations, e-learning videos, new graphics and designs, short trailers, across various lesson modalities. Through the deployment of the developed multimodal approach this study shed light on the ways in which specific solutions can enhance teaching effectiveness and improve students' cognitive learning abilities. The findings underscored the significance of tailoring educational content to optimize cognitive engagement, leading to a more effective and enriching learning experience for students. In conclusion, the integration of neuroscientific tools in educational research provides valuable insights into previously "blind" mental concerns, such as declining attention and rising stress levels, and their dynamics during the learning process. By utilizing these tools, researchers can identify potential challenges and issues that may arise when implementing new educational practices in daily life, thus becoming able to develop targeted and effective countermeasures to enhance the learning experience and educational outcomes. Incorporating neuroscientific methodologies in educational studies opens up new possibilities for evidence-based interventions and improvements in educational settings, paving the way for more efficient and impactful teaching and learning approaches.

Produzione scientifica

11573/1694348 - 2023 - A neuroergonomic approach fostered by wearable EEG for the multimodal assessment of drivers trainees
Di Flumeri, Gianluca; Giorgi, Andrea; Germano, Daniele; Ronca, Vincenzo; Vozzi, Alessia; Borghini, Gianluca; Tamborra, Luca; Simonetti, Ilaria; Capotorto, Rossella; Ferrara, Silvia; Sciaraffa, Nicolina; Babiloni, Fabio; Aricò, Pietro - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: SENSORS (Basel : Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI), 2001-) pp. 1-18 - issn: 1424-8220 - wos: WOS:001095188400001 (1) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85172179216 (2)

11573/1694532 - 2023 - Multimodal characterization of mental fatigue on professional drivers
Giorgi, Andrea; Ronca, Vincenzo; Vozzi, Alessia; Aricò, Pietro; Borghini, Gianluca; Tamborra, Luca; Simonetti, Ilaria; Sportiello, Simone; Petrelli, Marco; Varga, Rodrigo; Van Gasteren, Marteyn; Babiloni, Fabio; Di Flumeri, Gianluca - 04b Atto di convegno in volume
congresso: Proceedings of the 14th international conference on applied human factors and ergonomics and the affiliated conferences (San Francisco; California (USA))
libro: Neuroergonomics and Cognitive Engineering - (9781958651780)

11573/1668161 - 2023 - Neurophysiological evaluation of students' experience during remote and face-to-face lessons: a case study at driving school
Simonetti, Ilaria; Tamborra, Luca; Giorgi, Andrea; Ronca, Vincenzo; Vozzi, Alessia; Aricò, Pietro; Borghini, Gianluca; Sciaraffa, Nicolina; Trettel, Arianna; Babiloni, Fabio; Picardi, Manuel; Di Flumeri, Gianluca - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: BRAIN SCIENCES (Basel: Molecular Diversity Preservation International) pp. 1-16 - issn: 2076-3425 - wos: WOS:000914643600001 (3) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85146768498 (3)

11573/1559015 - 2021 - Wearable technologies for mental workload, stress, and emotional state assessment during working-like tasks: a comparison with laboratory technologies
Giorgi, A; Ronca, V; Vozzi, A; Sciaraffa, N; Di Florio, A; Tamborra, L; Simonetti, I; Arico, P; Di Flumeri, G; Rossi, D; Borghini, G - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: SENSORS (Basel : Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI), 2001-) pp. 1-21 - issn: 1424-8220 - wos: WOS:000638864700001 (23) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85102974825 (33)

11573/1556243 - 2021 - Smoke signals: A study of the neurophysiological reaction of smokers and non-smokers to smoking cues inserted into antismoking public service announcements
Inguscio, Bianca Ms; Cartocci, Giulia; Modica, Enrica; Rossi, Dario; Martinez-Levy, Ana C.; Cherubino, Patrizia; Tamborra, Luca; Babiloni, Fabio - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY (Elsevier BV:PO Box 211, 1000 AE Amsterdam Netherlands:011 31 20 4853757, 011 31 20 4853642, 011 31 20 4853641, EMAIL:, INTERNET:, Fax: 011 31 20 4853598) pp. 22-29 - issn: 0167-8760 - wos: WOS:000680045900004 (6) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85108630863 (6)

11573/1559017 - 2021 - A Video-Based Technique for Heart Rate and Eye Blinks Rate Estimation: A Potential Solution for Telemonitoring and Remote Healthcare
Ronca, V; Giorgi, A; Rossi, D; Di Florio, A; Di Flumeri, G; Arico, P; Sciaraffa, N; Vozzi, A; Tamborra, L; Simonetti, I; Borghini, G - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: SENSORS (Basel : Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI), 2001-) pp. - - issn: 1424-8220 - wos: WOS:000628569900001 (9) - scopus: 2-s2.0-85101330023 (16)

11573/1584529 - 2021 - Low-invasive neurophysiological evaluation of human emotional state on teleworkers
Ronca, Vincenzo; Di Flumeri, Gianluca; Giorgi, Andrea; Vozzi, Alessia; Aricò, Pietro; Sciaraffa, Nicolina; Tamborra, Luca; Simonetti, Ilaria; Di Florio, Antonello; Babiloni, Fabio; Borghini, Gianluca - 04b Atto di convegno in volume
congresso: 13th International Joint Conference on Computational Intelligence (Online)
libro: Proceedings of the 13th International Joint Conference on Computational Intelligence - (978-989-758-534-0)

11573/1559078 - 2020 - Wearable devices for neurophysiological evaluation during real working-like tasks: a reliability study
Ronca, Vincenzo; Vozzi, Alessia; Sciaraffa, Nicolina; Di Florio, Antonello; Tamborra, Luca; Simonetti, Ilaria; Giorgi, Andrea; Aricò, Pietro; Di Flumeri, Gianluca; Babiloni, Fabio; Borghini, Gianluca - 01a Articolo in rivista
rivista: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BIOELECTROMAGNETISM (Tampere : International Society for Bioelectromagnetism, 1999-) pp. 8-21 - issn: 1456-7865 - wos: (0) - scopus: (0)

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