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The dualistic perspective of optimal learning experience

Jean Heutte


Under the initial inspiration of Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi (2000), the 4th wave of contemporary scientific psychology is particularly interested in the empirical study of optimal human development. It also brings to light the theory of optimal or autothetic experience developed in the 1970s by Csikszentmihalyi. Over the past 35 years, empirical studies have mainly focused on the “bright sides of flow” (Csikszentmihalyi, 2014), because someone who is in a flow state is enjoying a positive subjective experience. However, flow has also an amoral character (Delle Fave, Massimini & Bassi, 2011; Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi, 2002). Some researchers are involved in the study of this phenomenon that has been called the “dark side of flow” (Schüler, 2012). In this presentation, I will first highlight the links between optimal experience in online learning (Heutte, Fenouillet, Martin-Krumm, Boniwell, & Csikszentmihalyi, 2016) and student motivation and persistence based on empirical research in the context of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) including 3132 students. The study shows the relationship between optimal motivation (Deci & Ryan, 2008; Fenouillet, Heutte, & Vallerand, 2015), orientation goals (Ames, 1992; Elliot, 2005) and self-regulation (Pintrich, 2003; Zimmerman, 2001). Next, the research results provide an opportunity to discuss the dualistic perspective of Flow (Heutte, 2020a, 2020b), including the effects of the “dark side of flow’. These effects include the peak of stupidity (Kruger & Dunning, 1999) linked to the illusion of having understood (ignoring one's own ignorance) and these are particularly shown by the “free learners” who learn in communities without interaction with the academic world.
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halshs-03159983 , version 1 (04-03-2021)


  • HAL Id : halshs-03159983 , version 1


Jean Heutte. The dualistic perspective of optimal learning experience. Annual Meeting of the ​Belgian Association of Psychological Sciences (BAPS 2021), May 2021, Louvain, Belgium. ⟨halshs-03159983⟩
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