Munich Center of the Learning Sciences

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Research Focus

The state-of-the-art learning-sciences research is structured into eight research foci, so-called Expertise Teams (ET), each coordinated by interdisciplinary speaker groups. The MCLS Research Board Members and further MCLS members are involved in projects across the expertise teams. 

Exemplary projects for each expertise team can be found here.
Representative MCLS publications are listed here.

ET 1: Neuro-cognitive mechanisms of adaptive control and plasticity 

Adaptive mechanisms – as encountered in basic processes of perception and attention, in executive functions of action, and in complex memory as well as planning processes – allow cognitive systems to act in a goal- oriented manner in various contexts, including dynamic and conflictual environments. These mechanisms are the result of an ontogenetic acquisition process, which leads to continual change up to higher age. The research goal of this initiative is to explain these mechanisms of adaptation and their development-dependent changes, including their neurological implementation.
Speakers: Prof. Dr. Müller, Prof. Dr. Deubel and Prof. Dr. Leibold

ET 2: Conceptual Development and conceptual change

The development of conceptual knowledge during childhood and conceptual change in the context of learning and teaching across the lifespan are research foci of this initiative. Disciplines such as developmental psychology, subject-matter didactics, as well as research on learning and instruction analyze naïve theories and misconceptions as well as the effects of instruction both within and beyond the school setting. In this initiative, there will be also a focus on the neuronal correlates of conceptual change in the context of learning and teaching processes.
Speakers: Prof. Dr. Sodian and Prof. Dr. Neuhaus

ET 3: Emotion, cognition and learning

Research on the influence of emotion on cognition and learning represents a new field, which is experiencing a rapid surge of interest at an international level. Using multi-method strategies, which range from lab experiments to field research, the effects of emotions on basic cognitive processes and on learning in educational institutes are investigated. 
Speakers: Prof. Dr. Pekrun, Prof. Dr. Maier and Prof. Dr. Frenzel

ET 4: Effective Instruction

Fostering human self-regulation is a central goal of education. Self-regulated individuals recognize problems, develop effective strategies for the solution of these problems, monitor their own learning processes, and regulate their emotions and motivation. Research in this initiative focuses on the basic mechanisms of self-regulation and addresses questions concerning the orchestration of self-regulation and other-regulation in learning environments, including for example, how individual or collaborative learning can be supported to foster self-regulation skills. 
Speakers: Prof. Dr. M. Fischer , Prof. Dr. Neuhaus and Prof. Dr. Ufer

ET 5: Organizational learning and learning social systems

Through intra-organizational learning processes as well as through inter-organizational vertical and horizontal networking, the chances and risks associated with innovative action are becoming more predictable and more transparent. Organizational learning processes enable and support the generation, accumulation, communication, and the transfer of knowledge. Research foci comprise evaluation research from perspectives of social sciences and educational science, organizational research from the perspectives of social and organizational psychology, and social sciences research on networks. 
Speakers: Prof. Dr. Tippelt, Prof. Dr. Brodbeck, Prof. Dr. Frey and Prof. Dr. Wößmann

ET 6: Technology enhanced learning and collaboration

In this initiative, the research addresses the question how learning and collaboration can be specifically supported with advanced technologies. Research activities focus on how groups and communities that are dynamically changing with respect to composition and size, goals and spectrum of activity, can generate, accumulate, communicate, and transfer knowledge to solve new problems. Based on these analyses, it will be investigated how these processes can be structured and fostered by means of adaptive and social technologies. 
Speakers: Prof. Dr. F. Fischer, Prof. Dr. Brodbeck and Prof. Dr. Hußmann

ET 7: Interactional dyadic learning: Developmental and Clinical Perspectives

Interactional dyadic learning is a key component for successful self-regulation. Variability in self-regulatory capacities depends on the quality of preceding interactional experiences. Interactional learning can be observed in caregiver-child dyads, romantic relationships, but also psychotherapy and counseling. Main goal of this ET is to explore dynamics and mechanisms of dyadic learning as predictor of successful development as well as their interplay with (epi-) genetic, endocrine and physiological factors in children and adults by applying cross-sectional, longitudinal, and interventional designs. The intervention component will make substantial use of video, drawing on elements of Video Intervention Therapy.
Speakers: C. Reck

ET 8: Statistical methods for measuring learning and change

The primary focus of this initiative is the advancement of methodology within the Learning Sciences. In the context of learning, the measurement of change is essential and can refer to individuals, groups, or organizations. The main problem associated with the measurement of change lies in distinguishing between real change and artifacts arising due to a lack of measurement precision or to the measurement itself. 
Speakers: Prof. Dr. Bühner, Prof. Dr. Heene, Prof. Dr. Küchenhoff, Prof. Dr. Tutz