Exploring Learning Experiences in Lectures - Ethno-Phenomenological Study


  • Ana Kanalec University of Ljubljana
  • Patricia Šušteršič University of Ljubljana



This is an ethno-phenomenological study exploring the natural behaviour and qualitative experience of students during lectures with the aim to better understand what influences learning-related processes in class. Information of this nature will, in the future, be used as a basis for optimising university lecture environments.


The study is a multiple case study, involving three participants. It combines two means of collecting data. First is a set of three short questionnaires that are completed via our newly developed Curious (about) consciousness application pre-, mid- and post-lecture:

  1. The pre-lecture questionnaire inquiries about participant’s state.
  2. The mid-lecture questionnaire is the most comprehensive out of the three and also the only one that is completed multiple times during each lecture. It employs a descriptive experience sampling method [1], focusing on one’s experience of a randomly selected learning situation, experience of the professor in the given moment, and any present background feelings, thoughts and awarenesses.
  3. The post-lecture questionnaire assesses participants’ overall impression of the lecture where they evaluate how much they believe they have learned.

Data was then analysed and categorised to discover any recurrent patterns in behaviour and experience. Categories will at a later stage be compared and combined with those of last year’s participants.


In our analysis of the data, obtained using the method described above, we have conducted a coding process, which consisted of reading qualitative descriptions of experiencing and standardising them with categorisation.


The study described above is only a part of a much broader study being conducted across different faculties, involving 12 student groups. At this stage we have only started conducting our data analysis and have already found some interesting repetitive experience categories that we will see whether we can link to successful or unsuccessful learning. Overall, we hope to learn more about what aids learning in lecture environments.

Due to our role as participants and also researchers we had limited knowledge of information regarding the broader research plan.


[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