This project investigates student workload and learning behaviour using experience sampling.

The aim is to establish a valid method for measuring student workload. In doing so, we are addressing current scientific debates on the measurement of student workload (Großmann et al., 2020) and the fact that UniDistance Suisse does not currently have such an instrument to measure the workload of its students. A key aspect of the measurement method is that several short measurements are taken throughout the semester. This enables a more precise measurement than, for example, a single, retrospective survey at the end of the semester. In addition, this approach enables the temporal dynamics of the measured values to be recorded.

In addition to learning time, the survey includes constructs that are assumed to moderate learning performance. These include, for example, moderators of academic success such as boredom (Wolff & Martarelli, 2020), learning strategies and learning materials (Belardi et al., 2021; Reber & Rothen, 2018), perceived stress (Lisnyj et al., 2023), or mind wandering (Belardi et al., 2022; Seli et al., 2016).

In an initial phase, participation is limited to students of specific modules of the German psychology degree programmes. Participation in the study is voluntary and anonymous. In the future, cooperation with other faculties and lecturers is planned.

Related work

Belardi, A., Chaieb, L., Rey-Mermet, A., Mormann, F., Rothen, N., Fell, J., & Reber, T. P. (2022). On the relationship between mind wandering and mindfulness. Scientific Reports, 12(1), Article 1.

Belardi, A., Pedrett, S., Rothen, N., & Reber, T. P. (2021). Spacing, Feedback, and Testing Boost Vocabulary Learning in a Web Application. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 5072.

Großmann, D., Engel, C., Junkermann, J., & Wolbring, T. (Eds.). (2020). Studentischer Workload: Definition, Messung und Einflüsse. Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.

Lisnyj, K. T., Gillani, N., Pearl, D. L., McWhirter, J. E., & Papadopoulos, A. (2023). Factors associated with stress impacting academic success among post-secondary students: A systematic review. Journal of American College Health, 71(3), 851–861.

Reber, T. P., & Rothen, N. (2018). Educational App-Development needs to be informed by the Cognitive Neurosciences of Learning & Memory. Npj Science of Learning, 3(1), 22.

Seli, P., Wammes, J. D., Risko, E. F., & Smilek, D. (2016). On the relation between motivation and retention in educational contexts: The role of intentional and unintentional mind wandering. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23(4), 1280–1287.

Wolff, W., & Martarelli, C. S. (2020). Bored Into Depletion? Toward a Tentative Integration of Perceived Self-Control Exertion and Boredom as Guiding Signals for Goal-Directed Behavior. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15(5), 1272–1283.

Project duration

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2025


Angelo Belardi
Angelo Belardi Scientific Collaborator EDUDL+
Prof. Dr Thomas Reber
Prof. Dr Thomas Reber Associate professor
Prof. Dr Nicolas Rothen
Prof. Dr Nicolas Rothen Associate professor
Prof. Dr Corinna Martarelli
Prof. Dr Corinna Martarelli Associate professor

Main institution

UniDistance Suisse