• Press Information
  • Contact
  • deutsch | english
mobile icon

Knowledge Media and Knowledge Processes in a Digital Society

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

From a psychological perspective, knowledge is linked to multiple processes. Teaching and learning, in other words, knowledge transfer and acquisition, include the processes of 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 do changes in the cognitive "division of labor" 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 Principles

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 theory, technology and content.

Theory. Theories from psychology, communication and neuro science predict information processing procedures. At the IWM, we test these theories, refine 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 obstructive effects.

Content. Processes of teaching and learning are dependent upon content. Therefore, research at the IWM always takes into account content and context. We work together with 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, to 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 the technology and content of a research goal suggest it, we work together with partners from computer science, teaching methodology, empirical educational research, media science, medicine or other disciplines. We enjoy particularly close relations 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).