Information for research participants

Information for research participants

The project develops ways to assess spoken interaction automatically

We ask you to participate in the Aasis project (Automatic assessment of spoken interaction in second language, The project brings together researchers in pedagogy, technology and phonetics to investigate Finnish as a second language learners’ interaction in dialogue speaking tasks. The project aims to develop a research-based automatic tool for assessing language learners’ spoken interaction, by extending the tool developed by the consortium’s previous project, DigiTala (Academy of Finland 2019–2023). 

In addition to Finnish learners’ speech, the Aasis project will study non-verbal features such as gaze, gestures and body movements in interaction and language assessment. The Aasis project is funded by the Research Council of Finland (2023-2027) and conducted in collaboration between the University of Helsinki, the University of Jyväskylä and Aalto University.

Methods: Investigating spoken interaction and participants’ views 

In the project, we will collect audio and video-recorded speaking tasks from approximately 300 adult learners of Finnish, including both monologue and dialogue tasks conducted in pairs. The video-recorded speaking tasks will be assessed by a pool of approximately 20 human raters (i.e. language teachers or experts in Finnish language). In addition, the recordings will be analysed by using different research methods such as acoustic analyses and algorithm-based facial expression analyses. Learners’ performances, human ratings and codings of interaction are used for training and testing automatic assessment models. Moreover, surveys and interviews are used to collect students background information and views on e.g. automatic assessment and the speaking tasks. The data collected with surveys and interviews are used e.g. for investigating meaningfulness of the speaking tasks.

As a learner of Finnish, you are asked to participate in two monologue and four dialogue speaking tasks that will be audio and video recorded. You are also asked to fill in pre- and post-test surveys. Participation, including the speaking tasks, pre- and post-test surveys, is expected to take 1 hour. Furthermore, the project will use different research methods such as algorithm-based facial expression analyses and explore novel methods such as eye-tracking, and some participants are asked to participate in an eye-tracking study. Participants will be informed in detail about the methods used before data collection. Some participants are also asked to participate in an interview on their views on the speaking test. 

Participation is voluntary, your data is handled with care 

Participation in the study is voluntary. There will be no negative consequences if you choose not to participate in the study or withdraw from the study. Participation in the study does not affect other language assessments (e.g. course grade).

Your personal data is handled confidentially in the project and stored at the universities’ storage spaces that only project members and collaborators have access to. Direct identifiers such as names and contact information will be removed from the data, however, you may be identified by voice and video recordings. Research data collected in the project will be deleted from the universities’ storage solutions after five years after the end of the project (2032) and contact information at the end of the project.

The material collected in this research is also useful in other research related to language learning. Therefore, we request permission to store your material (audio and video recording, survey and interview responses, background information and consent without direct identifiers) in the Language Bank of Finland (or similar trusted data archive). Participation in the study does not require that you give permission to store your material in the Language Bank. The material in the Language Bank will only be available for legitimate research purposes, accessible only for personal research upon application.

More information available

More detailed information regarding how your data is processed is provided in the project's privacy notice. For more information on the research, please contact Raili Hilden, +358504482514, The leaders responsible for the research project are Professor Raili Hilden at the University of Helsinki (language education, collaboration with stakeholders), University Lecturer Mikko Kuronen from the University of Jyväskylä (phonetics, speech analysis and training of human raters) and Professor Mikko Kurimo from Aalto University (speech and language processing, automatic assessment). 

Thank you for your participation!