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Knowledge construction

Knowledge Construction Lab

The construction of new knowledge is based partly on the individual preconception people have of an issue, and partly on the exchange and interaction between people who contribute their respective views to this issue. Knowledge construction thus has both an intra-individual and an inter-personal side: Learning and knowledge processes in an individual interact with processes and activities that take place between people. These processes are the central focus of the Knowledge Construction Lab. A lot of the projects are based on the co-evolution model that Cress and Kimmerle have presented in 2008 to describe the processes of knowledge construction with respect to cognitive psychology and systemic theories. Since then, this theoretical framework has been continuously developed and applied to media-based exchange scenarios such as Wikipedia, online communities or social tagging platforms.

The research projects of the lab can be assigned to two research lines: The first line of research, Knowledge construction in informal contexts, deals with situations in which the processes of knowledge construction occur mainly in informal settings, such as social networks or web communities, and people act primarily according to their self-imposed goals. The second line of research, Knowledge construction in formal contexts, examines situations where knowledge construction is integrated into formal scenarios, such as in schools and universities, or with an institutionally predetermined direction.

Team Knowledge construction


AFEL – Analytics for Everyday Learning

The research project AFEL (Analytics for Everyday Learning) is funded by the EU research and innovation programme 'Horizon 2020' and aims at investigating the processes of learning and knowledge construction on the internet. Psychologists, psycholinguists, data scientists, and software engineers work together to develop tools to support these online learning processes.

Antecedents and consequences of identity development

The project investigates how humans deal with different group memberships. More specifically, it focuses on how incompatibility between different groups is coped with, and how different group memberships might be reconciled and integrated in the self-concept. Moreover, the project investigates how the development of a new social identification and identity integration affects learning and well-being.

Collaborative knowledge construction in Wikipedia

Have you ever looked something up on Wikipedia? Or have you also contributed yourself to Wikipedia? Web 2.0 is changing processes of knowledge construction. The question is how knowledge develops on Wikipedia. And how the individual Internet user influences in turn the construction of knowledge.

Collective memory in international conflicts: Ingroup Bias in Wikipedia

Are Western interventions in the Middle East an act of liberation or an act of besiegement? Who is responsible for the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine? And who stands in the way of a peaceful solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? The conflicting parties themselves often hold a view that sheds a positive light on their own group. This so-called ingroup bias is investigated in this project in the context of Wikipedia.

Digital Learning Map 2020 | Success Factors of Digital Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

The LearnMap project evaluates existing empirical studies on the efficacy of digital teaching and learning at the university and maps national projects, products and concepts using digital media in higher education. For this, a framework model is being developed in order to evaluate existing teaching and learning arrangements from a learning science and psychological perspective, assess their effectiveness and, on this basis, foster the exchange between teachers and researchers. 


In recent years, the interest in the digitization of higher education has grown significantly, partly because of the hype surrounding Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Nevertheless, extensive funding programs did not lead to a significant anchoring of e-learning in higher education institutions so far, but showed the necessity of low-threshold and quality-assured support. This is the aim of the portal e-teaching.org. Beyond this, e-teaching.org fulfills three main functions for the IWM: It is a sensor for current e-learning trends as well as a tool for transfer and for research.
The qualification and information portal e-teaching.org specifically targets university lecturers and those responsible for e-learning at universities in German-speaking areas. The approach of the portal is to foster the use of digital media by providing extensive and frequently updated high-quality content as well as user-oriented features. The aim of e-teaching.org is to support the integration of digital media into university teaching and encourage the testing of innovative teaching scenarios.
In its eight content sections the portal provides a wide range of topics such as didactical, technological, and organizational aspects. The content is regularly being extended and updated. The presentation formats include texts as well as audios and video features, online events with e-learning experts and more. For means of content distribution and communication, the use of social media for communication is systematically being extended through a close cooperation with the research and development project `e-teaching.org in the context of social networks` which started in 2014.
Acknowledging the necessity of strong partnerships, e-teaching.org cooperates with more than 90 universities in German-speaking countries. These partner universities present e-learning-activities in their own portal section, which is part of the e-teaching.org community, where more than 4,500 members connect.
The main tasks of the editorial team include the identification of promising ways to utilize knowledge media for learning, which allows the IWM to identify current trends at an early stage and take up relevant issues in research.
Ever since its beginning e-teaching.org also served to communicate results of the research of the IWM to the public. Issues are, e.g., the use of wikis in university teaching, learning with text and pictures or design requirements for instructional videos. Under the heading `Aus dem IWM` the work and the fields of research of the institute are presented. The large number of users of e-teaching.org also makes it possible to use the portal as a research tool, and thereby expand the experimental laboratory research of the IWM on knowledge construction in large groups with field results.
Since its launch in 2003, e-teaching.org was funded by various institutions in several project phases. Since January 2014, e-teaching.org has been financed through budget resources of the IWM and supported by the Virtual University of Bavaria (VHB).

Math with the Dancemat

Basic research on numerical cognition suggests that numbers are represented along a spatially oriented mental number line. This number line representation is crucial for complex arithmetic procedures as it is associated with children’s understanding of numerical magnitude. Additionally, recent research suggests that the development of the mental number line can be promoted by sensorimotor experiences in accordance with theories of embodied cognition. Accordingly, can children profit from embodied cognition when learning numerical competencies? Are sensorimotor experiences beneficial for learning more complex numerical and arithmetic concepts and procedures?

Reception and production of scientific information in Wikipedia: The influence of hindsight bias and social categorization

When laypersons search the Internet for information they are frequently confronted with a variety of scientific findings, which are often inconsistent and thus provide a challenge for the recipient. We propose that two processes ñ the hindsight bias and social categorizations ñ facilitate the handling of conflicting evidence. While people in hindsight focus on outcome consistent information, social categorizations lead to a preference for information that is consistent with oneís attitude (and oneís in-group) as well as a degradation of attitude inconsistent information.
Since the development of the Web 2.0, however, users may not only read scientific information but also produce science-related information on the Web. Therefore we propose that both processes should likewise be observed for authors of web contents. The aim of the project is to investigate whether a hindsight bias and social categorizations can be observed in recipients as well as producers of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Additionally we will examine the efficacy of three strategies that might reduce the hindsight bias as well as the effects of social categorizations. We expect the results to complement the previous findings regarding the reception of conflicting scientific evidence and to further our theoretical understanding of the relationship between individual and collective information processing.

The impact of conflicting health conceptions on information processing and doctor-patient communication

There are various informational environments where medical laypeople and experts deal with medical information. Besides the personal communication between physician and patient the search for medical information on the Internet is widely used. With the help of web 2.0 technologies, like online forums, everyone may participate actively in the construction of health-related knowledge. This altered informational environment affects the physician-patient-communication.

Ubiquitous Working: Challenges and Prospects of the Interconnected Working Environment

The evolution of ubiquitous computing technologies made it possible to access information and work materials independently from time and space. Due to small mobile devices such as notebooks, smartphones, or tablets, and continuous interconnection with the workplace, work can be done anywhere and anytime – work became ubiquitous. Research already deals with consequences of modern, flexible work forms like ubiquitous working (UW) regarding social or health aspects but there is little research regarding impacts of location-independent UW on other psychological variables such as work performance and cognitive functioning.

Use of Collective Knowledge through Social Tagging

How can social tagging support learning and the joint construction of knowledge? This project tries to answer these questions with experimental studies about the reception of tags and tag clouds.


Former Projects

graduation papers

Masterarbeit: Lernen im Web 2.0

Das Web 2.0 bietet Werkzeuge im Netz, die sich für den Austausch von Wissen und die kooperative Konstruktion von Wissen eigenen. Ein Beispiel sind Wikis. Sie ermöglichen die gleichzeitige, kooperative Arbeit einer Vielzahl von Personen an gemeinsamen Artefakten, die allen Personen zur Nutzung und zur aktiven Weiterentwicklung offen stehen.

In der Masterarbeit soll untersucht werden, welchen Einfluss in einem Web 2.0-Setting die Öffentlichkeit (andere Personen können sehen, was ich ergänze) auf die Motivation und auf individuelles Lernen hat. Dabei interessiert auch, welche Prozesse dazu beitragen, dass über die reine Sammlung von Informationen hinaus auch die kooperative Konstruktion neuen Wissens möglich wird.

Auf Basis eines bestehenden Versuchsparadigmas, bei dem Versuchspersonen kooperativ erstellte Texte weiterbearbeiten müssen, sollen weiterführende Experimente durchgeführt werden. Je nach Interessenlage können auch weitere motivationale (z.B. Einfluss der Relevanz des Themas) oder soziale Einflussfaktoren (z.B. Zugehörigkeit zu einer sozialen Gruppe) im Rahmen der Masterarbeit untersucht werden.

Ihr Ansprechpartner ist: Herr Dr. Johannes Moskaliuk

Forschung über psychologische Forschung

Wissenschaft schafft Wissen. Aus unseren psychologischen Untersuchungen erhoffen wir uns Einblick in menschliches Erleben und Verhalten. Was aber, wenn ganz andere Dinge mit hineinspielen, die wir nicht bedenken? Eine Frage dabei ist z.B., ob nicht die wiederholte Teilnahme derselben Personen (z.B. Psychologiestudierende für ihre VP-Stunden) ein Problem darstellt - insbesondere, wenn sie in manchen Experimenten getäuscht werden. Eine weitere Fragestellung wäre, inwiefern Online-Forschung anfälliger für falsche Effekte (Artefakte) ist, weil die Teilnehmenden bei auftretenden Unklarheiten keine Möglichkeit haben, diese - z.B. durch Frage an den Versuchsleiter - zu klären.

Ihre Ansprechpartnerin ist: Frau Dr. Aileen Oeberst

Nutzung kollektiven Wissens durch Social Tagging

In den letzten Jahren etablierte sich Social Tagging als eine Standardanwendung des Web 2.0. Social Tagging bezeichnet die freie und individuelle Vergabe von Schlagwörtern (Tags) für digitale Ressourcen, wie z. B. Bookmarks. Durch diese individuelle Annotierung von digitalen Inhalten mit Tags, die von unterschiedlichen Personen vergeben wurden, entsteht eine gemeinsame Beschreibung von Inhalten durch eine Community. Im Rahmen einer Masterarbeit könnte der Einfluss von Social Tags auf die Informationssuche im Internet und auf individuelle Lernprozesse erforscht werden.

Ihre Ansprechpartnerin ist Frau Prof. Dr. Ulrike Cress

Mathe mit der Matte

In einem Kooperationsprojekt mit Prof. Nürk (Psychologisches Institut der Universität Tübingen) wird eine digitale Tanzmatte eingesetzt, um bei Vor- bzw. Grundschulkindern die Zahlenvorstellungen zu trainieren. Im Rahmen einer Masterarbeit könnte untersucht werden, inwieweit beim "Numerosity Learning" räumlich-motorische Komponenten eine Rolle spielen.

Ihre Ansprechpartnerin ist: Frau Prof. Dr. Ulrike Cress

Kooperative Wissenskonstruktion mit Wikis

Wikis sind für die kooperative Wissenskonstruktion geeignet. Sie ermöglichen die gleichzeitige, kollaborative Arbeit einer Vielzahl von Personen an einem gemeinsamen Artefakt, das allen Personen zur Nutzung und zur aktiven Weiterentwicklung offen steht. Mögliche Themen einer Masterarbeit könnten sich mit der Frage beschäftigen, was Personen zu einer konstruktiven Zusammenarbeit mit Hilfe von Wikis motiviert und welche sozilan eund kognitiven Prozesse dazu beitragen, dass solche kooperativen Szenarien über die reine Sammlung von Informationen hinaus auch die kollaborative Konstruktion neuen Wissens ermöglichen.

Ihre Ansprechpartner sind: Herr Dr. Joachim Kimmerle und Herr Dr. Johannes Moskaliuk