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Research

We investigate learning processes with regard to real-world applications. The learning materials are semantically rich, they come from different domains and make different demands on learning processes. Moreover, aptitudes of learners play an important role. Therefore, learning is manifold. Our research topics and questions reflect the diversity of learning. Here are some examples.

  • How can digital media support learning effectively? How can visualizations be designed such that they are most beneficial?
  • Can gaze patterns revealed by eye tracking techniques contribute useful information to the diagnostics of spatial ability?
  • Do navigation assistance systems have a negative effect on our spatial orientation skills?
  • How will long-term memory change through domain-specific training and practice? What are the consequences for short-term learning and performance in the domain?
  • How can instruction foster the reflective connection between scientific knowledge and practical, situated experience?

Please see below for more information.

Photo credit: Tim Kühl
Multimedia learning

Multimedia learning is characterized by learning with different visualizations and text. But which type of visualization in combination with what kind of text is especially beneficial? How can learners be stimulated to process the information in deeper ways when learning with multimedia? How do learners’ prerequisites and aptitudes (e.g. spatial ability, prior knowledge, emotional state) affect learning with multimedia? How do specific characteristics of a topic (such as being perceived as emotionally aversive) influence learning?

Photo credit: Stefan Münzer
Visualization: Spatial structures, orientation and navigation

Today, we do not use printed maps or atlases to plan routes or to learn about geography, but we use dynamic visualizations. We interact with three-dimensional virtual models of spatial structures (e.g., of technical systems, molecules, or human organs), and we move in virtual worlds. How do we understand the spatial information enclosed in these visualizations, and which role do spatial abilities play?

Photo credit: Benedict Fehringer
Eye-tracking and pupillometry in psychological measurement of ability: Spatial thinking as an example

In order to efficiently measure the ability of spatial thinking, it is useful to analyze visual solving strategies. Does a person recognize or systematically compare relevant parts of picture in a complex visual task? Gaze patterns might provide important insights. To this end, a new spatial thinking test was developed.

Photo credit: Lucas Lörch
Reading musical notation

Musical notation is a special kind of visual code. To read it, musicians develop schematic structures in long-term memory. During information processing they can access these memory structures. This enables them to encode even complex harmonies and rhythms. We research this process by means of eye movement analyses and memory tasks.

Photo credit: Anne-Sophie Waag
Reflection: The connection between situated problem solving and scientific knowledge

The „third mission“ of universities address challenges of the society. Accordingly, new teaching formats have spread the universities. One of those is the so-called Service Learning format. Is teaching and learning in such practice-oriented environments successful, just because students deal with real-world problems? Research so far has shown that gains in learning depend on the reflective examination of the situated problem with theoretical knowledge and scientific methods. However, reflection that connects scientific theory with practice does not happen by itself.