Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 1777–1792 | Cite as

Comparative study on emotions analysis from facial expressions in children with and without learning disabilities in virtual learning environment

  • Nihal OuherrouEmail author
  • Oussama Elhammoumi
  • Fatimaezzahra Benmarrakchi
  • Jamal El Kafi


Children with Learning Disabilities (LDs) show some emotional difficulties and behavioral problems in classroom compared with their peers without LDs. Emotions constitute an important part of the learning process. Recent evidence suggests that the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in special education permits to remove barriers in learning for the target children. Besides, it offers a learning environment for a diversity of emotional experiences. In this present study, we explored the benefits of ICT use to identify the ways in which emotions are involved during the learning process in Virtual Learning Environments (VLE). We conducted a user study with 42 children divided into two groups; experimental group (n = 14) and age matched control group (n = 28) to compare their emotional experiences in VLE. We used advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect children’s emotions through their facial expressions by analyzing seven basic facial emotion expressions (angry, disgust, fear, happy, sad, surprise and neutral) while playing an educational game. The initial results indicate that emotions are present in VLE and they appear to suggest that children with LDs experience the same emotions as their peers without LDs in VLE. Besides, they show that children with LDs experience less negative emotions compared to literature evidence about the presence of a higher level of negative emotions in classroom.


Learning disabilities (LDs) Information and communication technology (ICT) Assistive technology (AT) Artificial intelligence (AI) Virtual learning environment (VLE) Emotion recognition 



This work was financially supported by an Excellence Grant accorded to Nihal Ouherrou (3UCD2018) and Oussama Elhammoumi (11UAE2017) by the National Center of Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST)-Minister of National Education, Higher Education, Staff Training and Scientific Research, Morocco.

The authors would like to acknowledge the president and staff at Speech-Language Pathology Service-Health center, El Jadida Morocco and also children who have participated in this study. The authors would like also to thank the speech therapist Ilham Elhousni for her valuable suggestions and recommendations and the stuff at the primary school l’Ange Bleu El Jadida for their cooperation.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of computer science, Faculty of ScienceChouaib Doukkali UniversityEl JadidaMorocco

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