Research shows that various contextual factors can have an impact on learning. Some of these factors can originate from the physical learning environment (PLE) in this regard. When learning from home, learners have to organize their PLE by themselves. This paper is concerned with identifying, measuring, and collecting factors from the PLE that may affect learning using mobile sensing. More specifically, this paper first investigates which factors from the PLE can affect distance learning. The results identify nine types of factors from the PLE associated with cognitive, physiological, and affective effects on learning. Subsequently, this paper examines which instruments can be used to measure the investigated factors. The results highlight several methods involving smart wearables (SWs) to measure these factors from PLEs successfully. Third, this paper explores how software infrastructure can be designed to measure, collect, and process the identified multimodal data from and about the PLE by utilizing mobile sensing. The design and implementation of the Edutex software infrastructure described in this paper will enable learning analytics stakeholders to use data from and about the learners’ physical contexts. Edutex achieves this by utilizing sensor data from smartphones and smartwatches, in addition to response data from experience samples and questionnaires from learners’ smartwatches. Finally, this paper evaluates to what extent the developed infrastructure can provide relevant information about the learning context in a field study with 10 participants. The evaluation demonstrates how the software infrastructure can contextualize multimodal sensor data, such as lighting, ambient noise, and location, with user responses in a reliable, efficient, and protected manner.

Citation in MDPI and ACS Style

Ciordas-Hertel, G.-P.; Rödling, S.; Schneider, J.; Di Mitri, D.; Weidlich, J.; Drachsler, H. Mobile Sensing with Smart Wearables of the Physical Context of Distance Learning Students to Consider Its Effects on Learning. Sensors 202121, 6649.