In computer-based instruction learning environments, learners can be easily distracted due to the attraction of the enormous amount of interesting Internet content. If learners feel negative emotions during computer-based instruction, they may discontinue their learning. Thus, finding ways to keep learners feeling positive is an important part of computer-based instruction. Flow theory proposed by Csikszentmihalyi in 1975 argues that the challenge-skill balance is a precondition for flow experience. When the challenge of learning is higher than the learners’ ability, the learners will feel anxiety, and when it is lower than learners’ ability, the learners will feel boredom. When the challenge of learning matches the learners’ ability, a flow experience will appear. Enjoyment emotion will be in company with flow experience. However the current empirical study of 151 participants reveals that emotions related to enjoyment may appear when the learners’ skill is equal to or higher than the learning challenge. Nevertheless, boredom may appear when the learning is difficult but unimportant. When the learning content is difficult, learners may feel boredom as well as anxiety. If learners regard the learning as unimportant, they may feel boredom when the learning content is difficult. In this situation, there may be a trend for learners to discontinue their learning, since they cannot complete the learning contents and feel that the learning content is unimportant. However, if learners regard the learning as important, they will feel anxiety when the learning content is difficult. In this situation, learners may try, but fail, to complete the learning content. Anxiety and frustration may appear in this situation. Based on the results of the empirical survey, we suggest that computer-based instruction development should avoid developing learning material that is beyond the learners’ ability, especially when some learners regard the learning as unimportant.
Wang, Chih-Chien and Wang, Kai-Li, "BEYOND FLOW EXPERIENCE: LEARNERS’ POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EMOTIONS RELATED TO COMPUTER-BASED INSTRUCTION" (2014). PACIS 2014 Proceedings. 268.