New research group investigates how students use digital media

6 Apr 2023

Physics educationalist Jochen Kuhn is studying the learning behavior of students through his work in an interdisciplinary research group.

Promoting students' competencies in the critical use of digital media | © Sebastian Brückner, GSME

Students are increasingly using information from the internet in their studies. According to recent surveys, they even cite the internet as their main source when searching for learning material. Studies show, however, that students often rely on unsuitable and irrelevant sources as well as sources that are not based on scientific evidence when doing online research.

Little is currently known about how exactly students conduct self-directed learning online and select and process information. This lack is being addressed by the new “Critical Thinking in Online Learning Environments in University Education (CORE)” research group, which was established by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and granted over 5 million euros in funding over the coming four years.


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At LMU, the Chair of Physics Education headed by Professor Jochen Kuhn is participating in the research group. The University of Mainz holds the speaker role. Other members of the group include Goethe University Frankfurt and the Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education as well as the American universities Stanford and Harvard.

Within the project, researchers will investigate the learning behavior of students in the disciplines of medicine, physics, business studies, and the social sciences at three locations. The enterprise will cover the entire information landscape, taking in analog sources and newer developments such as ChatGPT in addition to digital media.

The results will be translated into a multidisciplinary model and will offer a foundation for the development and implementation of innovative digital training tools for universities.

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