IFeL projects

The Institute for Research in Open, Distance and eLearning (IFeL) deals primarily with topics from the areas of emotions, reading and learning, personalized and adaptive instruction design, as well as the use of eye tracking and face reading as measuring instruments.

Adaptive learning with Moodle - Artificially intelligent!

Based on our experience with the development and design of rule-based adaptive instructional designs (see project adaptive learning with Moodle), we want to enable adaptive feedback based on artificial intelligence.

For this pilot project - ALMoo KI for short - we have selected two modules at FFHS:

On the one hand, online calculation tasks of various modules of the "Accounting and Finance" department are to provide feedback on the corresponding misconceptions in the event of errors.

On the other hand, a health psychology module will automatically correct answers to open online questions.

The algorithm (the neural network) will be trained on the basis of manually entered categorizations and error corrections of answers by the lecturers. This should enable the algorithm to classify the students' answers correctly and incorrectly in real time and, if necessary, to recognize the underlying misconcept and make learning recommendations.

In addition to the feasibility of this automatic feedback, research questions here also include the effects on learning behaviour and acceptance by students.

We carry out this project in cooperation with the Zurich-based company Taskbase and corresponding lecturers.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Per Bergamin

Duration of the project: 2019 - 2022

Virtual Reality and Learning Activities

Project VIRLA (Virtual Reality and Learning Activities) investigates whether immersive Virtual Reality (VR) can be successfully used in distance education. We assess whether it is possible to perform challenging teamwork in a multi-user VR environment.

Head-mounted displays enables social interaction and co-working in immersive 3D-environments. Unlike video conferencing, VR allows for spatial interactivity. In addition, distracting stimuli can be controlled because the screen fills the entire field of vision of the user. Not surprisingly, major companies invest a great deal of money in the further development of the technology. We investigate how group collaboration
in VR compares to video conferencing and face-to-face interaction.

Contact: Dr. Ivan Moser

Duration of the project: 2016 – 2020

Delphi Studies on Technology-Based Learning

In the context of the UNESCO chair on Personalised and Adaptive Learning, we conduct Delphi studies at different organisations and help to develop effective strategies in the field of technology-based learning. 

The Delphi method is a research method, which aims at collecting expert opinions and their justifications on a specific topic. It allows approaching systematically a complex and ill-defined issue in a collaborative and iterative way. The Delphi method is used e.g. for future forecasting, decision making or for determining strategies. Currently, a Delphi study is conducted at the North West University of South Africa and Swiss Distance University of Applied Sciences for defining research strategies to foster the implementation of personalized and adaptive learning in both organizations and to develop further a research strategy of the UNESCO chair for joint research activities. 

Contact: Victoria Mirata

Duration: from 2017 

Online Prompting in Adaptive Learning

With OPaL (Online Prompting in adaptive Learning) we develop and test adaptive online courses with content whose solutions are unstructured text and are therefore more difficult to measure.

To do this, we use prompting tasks, a form of task in which learners compare their solution with a sample solution. This sensor makes it possible to estimate the accuracy of each task and make recommendations for the following tasks.

Contact: Dr. Egon Werlen

Duration of project: 2018 - 2020

Collaborative Learning in Virtual Environments

The aim of project CLIVE (Collaborative Learning in Virtual Environments) is to design and evaluate a learning environment in virtual reality, which
could be implemented in blended learning courses. The environment can enable social skills training in a multi-user virtual environment with high practical relevance.

Dietitians play a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of nutritional diseases. Their profession requires highly developed conversational skills.
Virtual reality (VR) offers the simulation of social situations, which would not be possible with classical teaching methods, or could only be achieved with considerable effort. Basic research suggests that VR can be successfully used for social skills training
and the training of health-care professionals. In a feasibility study, we design and evaluate a multi-user VR environment that enables dietetics students to practice professional conversations in a virtual hospital room.
Contact: Dr. Ivan Moser
Duration of the project: 2020 - 2021