L.M. Cerdá Suárez

Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (SPAIN)
Among the different types of competences which must be implemented at universities, transversal competences must be considered essential. That is, they represent a multi-functional package of knowledge, skills and attitudes which enable students to pursue individual objectives driven by aspirations, participate as an active citizen in society and obtain a useful job in the labor market.

In the last decade, the adoption of virtual learning environments in institutions of Higher Education have undergone a great growth worldwide. As a consequence of this progress of virtual environments at universities, there are many theoretical and empirical studies focused on examining the impact of experiential learning and teaching on students’ level of happiness in the classroom.

In this sense, happiness in the classroom has become an important construct to analyze in Higher Education. However, definitions of happiness are difficult to measure and for this reason, the starting point of this study is related to simple conceptual frameworks based on theories put forth by Piaget and Inhelder (1971) and Brunner (1977).

As a result of the increasing importance of the discipline of Positive Psychology in several academic areas, positive evaluations of life satisfaction are linked to happiness and numerous studies have addressed overall satisfaction with life in certain domains, including learning and teaching. For this reason, happiness and well-being in the classroom become compulsory in Higher Education.

In this paper, a wide spatial representation of cross-sectional nature was conducted at universities in, Chile, Mexico and Spain between March and November 2017, within the framework of an international research of teaching innovation supported by the Universidad Internacional de La Rioja, Spain. This study presents an original scale derived from the Spanish version of the Subjective Happiness Scale, which has previously shown good levels of internal consistency in a study with Spanish and Mexican university students. The total number of students in this experiment was 110 and the ultimate aim of this work is to explore the impact exerted by different combinations of experiential learning and teaching designs on happiness in the classroom, considering some skills and personal characteristics of the students.

The outline of this paper is the following. First, a conceptual framework on approaches to teaching, learning and happiness in the classroom is conducted. Second, a methodological procedure of research related to a parsimonious instrument to measure the happiness in the classroom is presented. Third, an overall analysis of the results is carried out. Fourth, the last section is devoted to the analysis of the discussions, conclusions, implications and further research.