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Effect of facial expressions on student’s comprehension recognition in virtual educational environments

Mohamed Sathik1 and Sofia G Jonathan2*

Author Affiliations

1 Sadakathullah Appa College, Tirunelveli, India

2 Research and Development Centre, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, India

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SpringerPlus 2013, 2:455  doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-455

Published: 12 September 2013


The scope of this research is to examine whether facial expression of the students is a tool for the lecturer to interpret comprehension level of students in virtual classroom and also to identify the impact of facial expressions during lecture and the level of comprehension shown by these expressions. Our goal is to identify physical behaviours of the face that are linked to emotional states, and then to identify how these emotional states are linked to student’s comprehension. In this work, the effectiveness of a student’s facial expressions in non-verbal communication in a virtual pedagogical environment was investigated first. Next, the specific elements of learner’s behaviour for the different emotional states and the relevant facial expressions signaled by the action units were interpreted. Finally, it focused on finding the impact of the relevant facial expression on the student’s comprehension. Experimentation was done through survey, which involves quantitative observations of the lecturers in the classroom in which the behaviours of students were recorded and statistically analyzed. The result shows that facial expression is the most frequently used nonverbal communication mode by the students in the virtual classroom and facial expressions of the students are significantly correlated to their emotions which helps to recognize their comprehension towards the lecture.

Facial expression; Non-verbal communication; Virtual classroom; Action units; Comprehension