Exploring learners’ flow experience and cognitive load of using smartphones as experimental tools in a smart learning environment

Published: 20 March 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/wgcp9r6kwx.1
chuting lu


Hypothesis 1: learners using SETs in physics laboratories (as an experimental group) would report high flow experience. Hypothesis 2: Using SETs in physics laboratories would reduce learners’ intrinsic and extraneous cognitive load but enhance their germane cognitive load. Hypothesis 3: Flow experience was negatively correlated with the intrinsic and extraneous cognitive load while remarkably positively related with the germane cognitive load. The data set includes all participants in the research. You can see students' basic information, like gender and research group, and their flow experience and cognitive load through this set. Using all these data, you can explore the difference in flow and cognitive load between the two groups. Besides, the correlation between flow and cognitive load would be further detected. The results indicated that students learning with smartphones reported higher flow experience and germane cognitive load but a lower extraneous and intrinsic cognitive load than those learning with traditional tools. Moreover, the flow was positively correlated with the germane cognitive load but negatively related to extraneous and intrinsic cognitive load in this study.


Steps to reproduce

This study aims to identify the educational effects of using SETs and the difference in students’ cognitive load and flow experience in different learning environments. The participants were 70 eighth-grade students from two classes at similar levels in a school. A randomized controlled trial was conducted, including an experimental group using SETs and a control group using traditional tools to experiment with an important topic covering classical mechanics (pressure). All participants were required to fill out the questionnaires to explore the effects of SETs on flow experience and cognitive load. Since the results of the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test showed that the sample was not normally distributed (p < 0.05), the non-parametric test was used for all analyses. All data analyses were accomplished by SPSS Statistics 25.0. The non-parametric method, Mann-Whitney U exact test, was used to compare the differences in flow experience and cognitive load between the experimental and control group. Meanwhile, Spearman's rank correlation was used to examine whether there was a correlation between flow experience and cognitive load.


South China Normal University


Physics Education


Guangzhou Office of Philosophy and Social Science

No. 2020GZQN20