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Speeding up knowledge

Research at the IWM is divided into the following research areas: Individual use of knowledge media, Social use of knowledge media and Cross-sectional activities.

Research Departments

Individual use of knowledge media

The focus of the research area Individual use of knowledge media is on individual learners’ knowledge-related processes when using digital information. The research area is divided into three labs and one junior research group.

The Multimodal Interaction Lab researches the interaction of digital information on the basis of different sensory and motoric modalities. The focus is on the multimodal handling of multiple information resources and on the use of sensor-based interaction modalities such as multi touch or brain-computer interfaces.

The Realistic Depictions Lab focuses on the processes underlying information processing and knowledge acquisition when looking at vivid static and dynamic visualizations such as illustrations, videos or virtual environments.

The Multiple Representations Lab works on the question which information processes are involved in learning with combined symbol systems, especially text-picture combinations, and on how to provide instructional support for learners that perform these processes.

The Junior Research Group Neuro-cognitive Plasticity researches the neuro-cognitive processes underlying media-based learning as well as the plasticity associated with learning. The focus of the Junior Research Group is on numeric-mathematical competencies and their development.

Social use of knowledge media

The research area Social use of knowledge media is also divided into three labs and one junior research group. The four groups research the potential and risks of using digital communication and cooperation media for collaborative knowledge work and knowledge acquisition.

The Social Processes Lab focuses on researching the influence of social factors (e.g., the interdependence of communication partners) and of users’ emotions (e.g., the perceived threat by study partners that are better than oneself) on media-mediated cooperation and knowledge acquisition.

The Knowledge Exchange Lab researches cognitive and media conditions (e.g., awareness about the knowledge of others) that direct learning and knowledge exchange with digital media. Both the Social Processes and the Knowledge Exchange Lab aim at identifying the social and cognitive conditions of knowledge exchange in media-mediated and media-supported contexts.

The research of the Knowledge Construction Lab focuses on media settings in which large groups work together on a joint knowledge artefact (e.g., a knowledge platform). In these settings knowledge is usually not exchanged directly between users but via the artefact (the media platform) and the processes happening there. In such situations new knowledge develops on an individual and on a group level.

The Junior Research Group Social Media researches knowledge exchange in the context of digital social networks. News in social networks are often quoted out of the social and textual context and shared multiple times. Therefore, this way of communicating is seen more as a special form of knowledge artefacts and less as a communication between individuals. The Junior Research Group looks at the role the users’ social network (size, structure) plays in knowledge exchange and personal knowledge acquisition.

Cross-sectional activities

The Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Tübingen »Informational Environments« presents an institutionalized form of the IWM’s cross-sectional activities. In this research network which was established in 2009, departments of the IWM cooperate with partners of the University of Tübingen and project partners in Freiburg and Mannheim. Together, they study how the availability of web-based resources interacts with life-long learning.