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Knowledge Media and Knowledge Processes in a Digital Society

Knowledge and the competent handling of it are a central success factor for industrial nations. However, knowledge is not only an important economic factor but is also the prerequisite for participating in social and political processes and decisions.

From a psychological perspective, knowledge is linked to multiple processes. Next to teaching and learning, meaning knowledge transfer and acquisition, these processes include knowledge creation or construction, interpersonal knowledge exchange and knowledge application.

The IWM views knowledge processes primarily from a perspective that focuses on information processing of the individual and on interpersonal communication. The following prototypical research questions guide our work:

Which requirements and competencies are necessary for the successful usage of digital media for knowledge processes and how can they be transmitted?

How does a changed cognitive „labor division” between human and digital tools impact knowledge processes?

What roles do innovative cognitive interfaces play for knowledge processes?

How do social and motivational factors impact knowledge exchange and knowledge usage with digital media?

How does a group of people jointly construct knowledge?

Fundamental Priciples

In answering these questions, the following fundamental principles guide our work:

Integration of theory, technology and content

Research projects at the IWM are located at the interface of the three 

perspectives theory, technology and content.

Theory. Theories from psychology, communication and neuro science predict information processing procedures. At the IWM, we test these theories, refind them and apply them in order to gain more differentiated results about processes of knowledge-related media usage.

Technology. The IWM researches the effects technology has on knowledge acquisition and exchange – both positive and supporting effects as well as obstructive ones.

Content. Processes of teaching and learning are dependent on the content. Therefore, research at the IWM always takes into account the content and context. Moreover, we work together with the appropriate experts whenever necessary.

Methodical Variety

Research at the IWM is characterized by a wide variety of study designs and applied methods. Depending on the question, the methods range from experimental lab research with randomized reference groups to quasi-experimental field research with existing groups such as school classes and representative longitudinal studies. We use differing measurement methods such as questionnaires, knowledge tests, eye-tracking, neuro-scientific measurements with visual and electrophysiological procedures, Learning Analytics, Machine Learning or semantic analysis of Big Data.


Research at the IWM is also strongly characterized by interdisciplinary cooperation. Where technology and content suggest it, we work together with partners from computer science, teaching methodology, empirical educational research, media science, medicine or other disciplines. Particularly close relations exist to researchers of the University of Tübingen via the collaboration with the Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus, LEAD (graduate school in the context of the excellence initiative Tübingen) and the Tübingen School of Education (TüSe).