Distributed Pedagogical UserLab (DPU)


The Distributed Pedagogical UserLab has the particularity of being a space distributed over two distant sites (Laval and Le Mans), each of which has equipment enabling the analysis of the user experience.


This unique experimental environment will allow in particular the study of learning situations, mobilising remote, immersive activities or enhanced with interactive connected objects.

The DPU project is co-financed by the University of Le Mans, the State-Region Plan Contract (CPER) and the Pays de la Loire Region ( West Creative Industries)


DPU Project

The Distributed Pedagogical UserLab (DPU) is the UserLab project supported by Le Mans University. The instrumentation of the platform and its capacity to analyse the user experience in a controlled experimental situation aims at a fine analysis of individual and collective, face-to-face and distance dynamics. In particular, it is a question of studying the conditions and encouraging the co-design of training situations with teachers in order to encourage techno-pedagogical innovations and to evaluate them scientifically in terms of usefulness and usability. To do this, the Userlab has the particularity of being distributed over two distant sites (Laval and Le Mans).


From a research point of view, methodologies are proposed for the implementation of experiments and their evaluation. For this purpose, specific technological devices are integrated into the UserLab: video and audio recordings, digital traces, transcription, gaze analysis, corpus archiving, etc.


It is thus possible to collect data and opinions to evaluate the experience of teachers, learners and professionals.


DPU – Spaces and equipment

Le Mans University has the particularity of having a UserLab with two rooms spread over the Le Mans and Laval sites. It has the equivalent of 180m² of experimental space. The Le Mans UserLab consists of a 81m² Pedagogical Innovation Room (SIP) and an 18.4m² technical control room / individual maintenance room. It also includes a 37m² relaxation area.


All of the equipment is controlled from a control room which centralises the audio and video recording data from the Pedagogical Innovation Room (PIR) where the recording equipment is located. The PIR is equipped with four professional cameras with a 30x optical zoom to analyse participants’ emotions. The analysts can thus note the reactions and writings produced in the room. 7 microphones allow the collection of discussions and reactions.


In the control room, the analysts can observe the subjects of the experiment through a one-way glass window but also through the screens available. In addition, the control room serves as a place for individual interviews thanks to its high quality and discreet camera. Once the experiments are completed, several processes can be carried out with the collected data, such as: anonymisation, de-recording, transcription of audio streams and archiving.

Projects and prospects

The DPU UserLab offers researchers and socio-economic actors a space to carry out their experiments requiring precise recordings, quality recordings and powerful post-analysis tools. Currently in a launch and configuration phase, the DPU aims to make the most of the know-how and scientific knowledge of the University of Le Mans to support and develop research projects, but it also aims to put in place an offer to the socio-economic players in the region. Several projects around these issues are already underway, for example

  • The Escape CELL project focuses on the creation of a board game for learning plant cell biology in L1 SVT. The Userlab analysed a game session with an uninformed user, a game master and two educational engineers from the Le Mans University Digital Resources Centre.
  • The Final of the Olympic Games of Linguistic Diversity featured an escape game in face-to-face/remote mode with different groups of schoolchildren. This event allowed the creation of a corpus of videos tracing the behaviour of schoolchildren when faced with puzzles in different languages of the world. This corpus will be exploited by teacher-researchers in language didactics.
  • Within the Écrit+ project, a Master 2 trainee developed a software allowing the analysis of verbatims. The UserLab has enabled the analysis of the reactions of several users to the use of this software.

Among the prospects envisaged, the Userlab wishes to develop a network of intelligent connected objects with our partner STMicroelectronic, enabling researchers to digitise their educational activities.


Network of Userlabs in the Loire

A Userlab is a tool that enables any player, whether academic or industrial, to base their research or innovation on scientifically controlled experiments (scientific and technical validity of the protocol, measurements, treatments and results obtained). A Userlab builds a bridge between research and innovation by responding to common experimental needs, but it is also a vector of accessibility to skills linked to user experience and oriented towards innovation.


Since 2019, the West Creative Industries programme has been supporting the emergence and development of three Userlabs in Pays de la Loire, including UDP (University of Le Mans), with the Experience Lab or XP-LAB ( Hall 6 West, University of Nantes) and P2AC (University of Angers), and is contributing to the networking and structuring of these platforms as well as the promotion of the associated academic skills, in close collaboration with the region’s research and innovation players (Technocampus, MSH, etc.)



DPU – Le Mans
Florent Carlier / florent.carlier@univ-lemans.fr
Julien Laflaquière – Innovation Officer ICO / julien.laflaquiere@univ-nantes.fr

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