Designing personalised learning environments for students

Project tech4comp
Article posted on 03.12.2018

The joint project “Personalised competence development via scalable mentoring processes – tech4comp” started at the beginning of October 2018. The central question is “What should design concepts that make the proven quality of individual mentoring scalable for the acquisition of competences look like?”, and eight project partners throughout Germany have formed a consortium managed by Leipzig University which will operate until March 2022, researching concepts for personalised learning environments and mentoring for the students of today and tomorrow. The project will be funded for the next 42 months by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in the funding line “Innovation potential of digital university education”, with a total budget of € 7.4 million. There is an option to extend the funding until September 2024; if this is approved, a further € 5.2 million in funding will be provided.

“The project is a response to the changed realities of, and access to, learning in the digital age. We also want to take account of the diversity of our students, and use technology to enable individual accesses to studying”, says the manager of the joint project, Professor Heinz-Werner Wollersheim, who holds the Professorship in General Pedagogy at Leipzig University. Scientists at the Faculty of Education at Leipzig University are working with colleagues from the Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden), the Educational Technology Lab of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Chemnitz University of Technology (TU Chemnitz), Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK Leipzig), Freie Universität Berlin and RWTH Aachen University to research how students’ learning processes can best be supported. The project focusses on technology-enhanced mentoring and on mentoring tools.

“The interdisciplinary focus of the project enables us to access the area of student learning from a variety of directions: thus we are opening up not only different study disciplines, but also broad access to the way the various faculties approach methods and research”, emphasises Professor Christoph Igel, Professor of Educational Technology at Chemnitz University of Technology and Scientific Director of the Educational Technology Lab of the DFKI. The latter’s experience in supporting training, qualification and education processes with innovative software technologies and artificial intelligence applications will also be used during the project. The test area comprises subjects that involve different amounts of structure: mathematics at HTWK Leipzig, mathematics-related subjects at the TU Chemnitz, and in terms of teacher training, the educational sciences at Leipzig University and the TU Dresden.

So that in future students from all subject areas can benefit from the research findings of the project, Professor Thomas Köhler of the TU Dresden emphasises the project aims: “So that we can establish technology-enhanced mentoring permanently in universities, we need to test the effectiveness of the solutions on offer and provide concepts, in order to create a structural basis to support both learners and the administrative staff at the universities in tackling the associated challenges.” This project will also have a major impact for the further development of digitally-supported university teaching in Saxony generally, as a total of four universities in Saxony are involved in the joint project.