Ethno-phenomenological Study of Experiencing Lectures


  • Andrej Jablanovec University of Ljubljana
  • Žana Jurhar Žitnik University of Ljubljana
  • Maša Poljšak Kus University of Ljubljana
  • Taja Oblišar University of Ljubljana
  • Karin Pungartnik University of Ljubljana


Our pilot study is a multiple case study focused on the qualitative experience of 7 different students during lectures. Alongside that, we gathered some behavioural and contextual data, thus making our study ethno-phenomenological. Our research questions are “What impacts learning (defined as memorization and comprehension) of students during lectures?” and “Is the classroom where lectures take place is one of the factors?”.

Two concepts closely related to explorative study are experience and behaviour. Experience is anything that is going on in your awareness at any moment, behaviour is the range of observable students’ action.

Firstly, we aim to gather information on student experience and behaviour by identifying the main factors that influence students’ learning process during lectures to improve study processes and provide relevant information to better cater to students’ learning needs.

Secondly, we aim to identify some basic categories of the student experience and indicate the main methodological considerations that could inform future research.


Methods used in this study combined the approach of Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES) method [1] and ethnographic questionnaires. Our research consisted of 5 data collecting phases:

  1. pre-lecture questionnaire (assessing mood, prior activities),
  2. DES during the lecture, reporting behaviour, attention, atmosphere, sense of environment (sampling 3 random moments that were indicated by a beep and 2 individually selected moments),
  3. post-lecture mini test (assessing memorization and comprehension),
  4. post-lecture questionnaire (inquiring about overall impression of the lecture),
  5. a detailed diary of the participants’ experience and behaviour during a lecture. Participants used video recordings to help them with diary entries.


Expected results are 7 thorough reports of experience and behaviour during 6 lectures. We are interested in any patterns that might emerge and could potentially inform future research on student learning experience during lectures.


Although the study is still ongoing, we are confident that the broad collection of qualitative data will provide at least some useful information on what hinders or enhances memory and comprehension of students during lectures.

We believe that we have managed to maintain a high level of ecological validity, however, we are aware that the study has impacted the experiences and behaviour of the participants. Our discoveries in this field hold significant value in establishing guidelines for improved study environments and reducing the influence of demand characteristics in future research.


[1] R. T. Hurlburt and S. A. Akhter, “The descriptive experience sampling method,” Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, vol. 5, no. 3–4, pp. 271–301, 2006. doi:10.1007/s11097-006-9024-0