Realistic Depictions Lab
Recently, so-called cybermedia have become increasingly more important in the educational field. Cybermedia communicate contents by means of graphical three-dimensional scenes such as Virtual Realities (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), computer games, interactive videos or hyper-videos. All of these provide learners with realistic and active learning opportunities. These types of media can be implemented in schools accordingly for subjects such as history, geography, and biology. However, informal, non-institutionalized learning can also profit from the properties of cybermedia, as seen in scientific TV shows, documentaries or museum exhibitions. While cybermedia are highly realistic, they also offer instructional possibilities that go way beyond a mere simulation of reality. The main challenge in designing cybermedia is to encourage learners to engage in a reflective and elaborative approach to learning material in order to improve knowledge acquisition.
The lab consists of three lines of research:
Experience optimization through cybermedia
Dynamic scenes surround us in every-day life, such as in road traffic or while observing sporting events. Audiovisual media (e.g. television or internet) reflect this fact. Contrary to real life, media can make use of a range of different possibilities in presenting dynamic scenes, from the choice of perspective to slow or fast motion, respectively. Moreover, visual material can be interactively manipulated in digital media. In this line of research, we investigate to what extent this presentation method can support basic cognitive mechanisms such as attention control, visual recognition or knowledge acquisition.
Edutainment: education and entertainment
Edutainment stands for hybrid forms of learning material and entertaining elements, such as acted out scenes in historic TV documentaries or learning-oriented video games. From the viewpoint of knowledge psychology, it is of particular interest whether entertainment and knowledge acquisition are compatible, or rather exclusive, concepts. Projects in this line of research examine relevant forms of cognitive information processing and the qualia of edutainment formats, as well as their consequences for learning and knowledge acquisition.
Authenticity: cybermedia as a replacement and extension of reality
A common feature of informal learning contexts (e.g. museums) is the combination of real places and objects with digital displays and illustrations. This gives rise to the question as to how real objects and virtual illustrations can relate to each other sensibly in order for recipients to perceive a coherent informative environment. A further series of experiments shall however also shed light on the discrepancies between reality and media by investigating psychological differences between authentic objects and their medial reproductions.