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Our principle areas of research

We, as faculty of the Department of Educational Science at the University of Freiburg and members of the competence network KeBU Freiburg, seek to generate scientific knowledge that can be used to facilitate learning and teaching in complex domains. We apply quantitative methods, primarily within experimental designs, to investigate cognitive and metacognitive prerequisites for learning, cognitive and metacognitive processes occurring as learners write, read, and solve problems individually, and the effectiveness of problem-solving tasks, instructional texts and human one-on-one tutoring. We investigate learning at the high-school and college levels, as well as professional development of high-school teachers and university faculty.

Our research focusses on four principal areas:

Self-regulated learning and learning by writing

We are interested in how learners' self-regulation of metacognitive and motivational processes changes over multiple learning episodes, and how choices of learning strategies and trajectories of self-regulated learning relate to learning outcomes. Furthermore, we investigate the effects of writing learning journals on self-regulated learning, and deep-level comprehension of complex learning materials.

Funded projects: SMMS

Learners' and teachers' complex reasoning and argumentation skills

We aim to identify levels of complex reasoning and argumentation skills, and trace their development across years of education at the secondary and tertiary levels. Our research on critical reasoning and epistemological beliefs involves high-school students and teachers. With college students, we focus on scientific writing. Our research on professional development of university faculty focusses on reflection and problem solving when facing complex instructional choices.

Funded projects: Lesced, ProfiLe, SoScie

Processing and communicating scientific knowledge

In this dual-strand area of research, we investigate how students process scholarly scientific literature, and how text-based interventions can be designed to facilitate learners' epistemological understanding of science. We are also interested in how novices differ from experts in domain-specific knowledge, and how structural aspects of experts' knowledge impact on effectiveness of written explanations directed at novices.

Funded projects: STeSE

Teachers' assessment skills

We are interested in pre-service and in-service teachers’ assessment skills that are required for effective classroom teaching. We investigate teachers' skills in anticipating learners' prior knowledge and in designing problem-solving tasks that meet students’ needs. Furthermore, we investigate teachers' skills in evaluating and reacting to students' learning processes and outcomes in tutoring settings.

Funded projects: FESMath, ProMatNat

If you would like to know more about our research interests we invite you to explore the individual faculty and staff pages or contact us directly.

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