The elusive experience of ‘flow’: Qualitative and quantitative indicators
International Journal of Educational Research Volume 47, Number 2, ISSN 0883-0355 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
In this investigation mixed methods were used to examine flow within the context of a writing task. Forty-four secondary students aged between 15 and 18 years completed a computer-based writing task requiring them to examine information and then write on one of two topical issues. We examined the level of agreement between end-of-task ratings based on two approaches to measuring flow, the four-channel model ratio of challenge and skill, and a classification based on ratings of absorption, timelessness and effort. Flow groups that emerged were significantly associated but not entirely consistent. A range of additional data sources concerning students’ on-task experiences illustrated different patterns of task engagement. The variability between indicators suggests that flow cannot be reliably identified through any narrow set of measures. Just as the flow experience is complex so a range of indicators is needed to identify when and how students experience flow in their learning.
Ainley, M., Enger, L. & Kennedy, G. (2008). The elusive experience of ‘flow’: Qualitative and quantitative indicators. International Journal of Educational Research, 47(2), 109-121. Elsevier Ltd.