Eye Tracking as a Tool to Study and Enhance Cognitive and Metacognitive Processes in Computer-Based Learning Environments

Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 28)


This chapter discusses the use of eye tracking to assess cognitive and metacognitive processes and cognitive load in computer-based learning environments. Benefits of eye tracking for studying such processes are discussed (e.g., the very detailed information it provides on where a participant was looking, in what order, and for how long), but also limitations (e.g., that detailed information does not tell one which processes exactly are occurring; this has to be inferred by the researcher). In addition, this chapter provides examples of how eye tracking can be used to improve the design of instruction in computer-based learning environments, both indirectly and directly. For example, an indirect way would be to use the information on experts’ or successful performers’ viewing patterns to adapt instructions prior to a task (e.g., emphasizing what should be attended to later on) or to adapt the format of the task (e.g., cueing attention). A more direct way would be to display experts’ or successful performers’ eye movements overlaid onto the instructional materials. In the discussion, the opportunities provided by eye tracking, but also the technical challenges it poses are addressed.


Cognitive Load Pupil Dilation Attention Allocation Confidence Judgment Corneal Reflection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



During the realization of this work, Tamara van Gog was supported by a Veni grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO; # 451-08-003).


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational PsychologyInstitute of Psychology, Erasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Center for Learning Sciences and TechnologiesOpen University of The NetherlandsHeerlenThe Netherlands

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