Institute for Research in Open, Distance and eLearning (IFeL)

The Institute for Research in Open, Distance and eLearning (IFeL) investigates the use of modern technologies in teaching and learning practice. We use a design-based research methodology, classical statistical approaches and methods from the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence, focusing on the following research areas: personalised and adaptive learning, emotions in reading and learning, virtual reality (VR) educational approaches and learning analytics.

Our interdisciplinary research team consists of social, computer and data scientists and collaborates with national and international partners to bring the most recent research results into educational practice. Since 2016, the Institute holds the UNESCO Chair in Personalised and Adaptive Distance Education.

Research Areas IFeL

Our research activities are centred around research and development of forward-thinking applications in e-learning. Explore our fields of research.

UNESCO Chair on Personalised and Adaptive Distance Education

Since 2016, the Swiss Distance University of Applied Sciences (FFHS) holds the UNESCO Chair on Personalised and Adaptive Distance Education (UNESCO Chair PADE). The UNESCO Chair operates as an international networking platform for the research, development and implementation of innovative learning concepts in the area of personalised and adaptive distance education. It also serves as a bridge builder in the sharing of knowledge between the researchers and academic staff at the regional, national and global levels.


You will find an overview of our activities, research and service projects in this area.

Teaching, Training and Knowledge Transfer

The research institute IFeL develops MOOCs and prepares interesting workshops on self-regulating learning, technology-based learning and realistic expectations.

IFeL Laboratory for Technology-Based Learning (TBL Laboratory)

In our TBL laboratory, we primarily conduct experiments with virtual reality (VR) equipment and eye-tracking devices. We also work with psychophysiological measuring devices and specialised software for behavioural observation. The various laboratory rooms are equipped in such a way that we can flexibly rearrange them as needed for the respective experiments.

Network & Partnerships

The Institute for Research in Open, Distance and eLearning (IFeL) maintains a broad network with universities and private and public organisations.


Below you will find a selection of publications of the Institute for Research in Open, Distance and eLearning (IFeL).



We would like to introduce you to our research team in the field of distance learning and eLearning research.