Using ESM to Study Flow in a STEM Project

  • Frans Ørsted Andersen


For decades, school students in the West have shown lower levels of interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) than in humanities, arts, finance or the media. But STEM competencies are increasingly in demand in modern societies. A Danish project, Future Learning Lab (FUF), conducted by two Danish ministries in concert with the Katafonden foundation and the project, aims to find ways to close this STEM gap. The goal is to create both (1) increased student motivation for STEM subjects and (2) better STEM teaching and learning. Recently a number of classes of Danish school students tested a new FUF learning lab designed to meet these goals. Researchers measured student flow during the test period, using ESM (Experience Sampling Method) in combination with observations and interviews. The research found high levels of student flow during the test period, and pointed to the following FUF characteristics as likely causes of the high flow levels detected in the experiment: (1) increased scope for hands-on activities, (2) increased use of open-ended experiments, (3) increased scope for working in groups, (4) increased scope for open internet search, and (5) increased scope for wild “myth buster” STEM activities engendering a (feeling of) lack of control.


ESM STEM subjects STEM teaching STEM learning STEM motivation STEM labs Flow Learning-by-doing Open-ended experiments 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark

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