Research Cluster „Education and Digital Transformation“

Bild Forschungscluster


Background and Goals of the Research Cluster

Technological developments provide for many new possibilities but also challenges for the education system. Under the catchphrase “digital transformation”, the present educational practice is partly supplemented and extended with new technologies but partly also modified or transformed fundamentally. To date, there is not enough information available regarding their effect within the interaction of educational structures, educational programs, educational processes, and outcomes. With a special focus on schools and universities, the research cluster “Education and Digital Transformation” should contribute to finding answers to the following questions:

  1. How do digital technologies transform the contents and objectives of education?
  2. What is the impact of integrating digital technologies on teaching and learning processes and their quality (e.g. within the areas of teaching quality, individualization and differentiation of learning methods, learning diagnostics, and achievement evaluation)?
  3. How can the possible problematic effects of an intensified technology integration be dealt with (e.g. in regard to equal opportunities, information privacy, cyber mobbing, commercialization, and plagiarism)?
  4. How can teacher training and further training be structured effectively within the context of digital transformation?
  5. What kind of assistance is necessary for implementing digital transformation within the education system (e.g. within the areas school development, curriculum development, and governance)?


Digital Tuesdays

In support of internal exchange, regular informal (digital) meetings of the cluster members take place in which topics of digital transformation within the education system are focused. Dates: During the semester, every first Tuesday of the month 12:00–13:00 (if you are interested in participating please contact the office).

“Education and Digital Transformation” Forum

For a broad scientific exchange, we are initiating a public and interdisciplinary lecture series with prominent figures that have a decisive impact on the digital transformation of the education system. The impulses from the guest lectures are then absorbed and developed further in public panels. The lecture series starts in the Fall Semester 2021 (Wednesdays: 16:15–17:45). Three lectures and a panel are planned that will address the second question listed above (impact of digital transformation on the quality of teaching and learning processes). Further question will be addressed in the following years.

Research Projects and Research Cooperations

Finding answers for the identified research questions require broad empirical approaches. Therefore, long-ranging joint research projects will be initiated. Here is a selection of our research projects relating to the questions listed above within the area of digital transformation:

Digital Transformation of Upper Secondary Education (DigiTraS II)

The project connects a nationally representative survey with case studies from innovative schools. The study encompasses all school types of the upper secondary level. It includes surveys with school administrations, teachers, and students. Compared with the last representative surveys in Switzerland and with similar European studies, the project is concerned with a comprehensive description of the changes in the school related culture of learning and teaching within the context of digital transformation.

Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Dominik Petko (key subjects 1, 2, and 5)

Technology-enhanced peer coaching for (prospective) teachers (ZuDiKo)

Prospective teachers are equipped with a great willingness to cooperate – however, the stereotypical picture of the teacher as a lone professional still prevails. In many cases, a productive cooperation fails because of structural requirements (e.g. spatial distance). Therefore, the project has two fundamental goals: 1) Creating the conditions for an effective and collegial cooperation (communicative competencies, competencies in lesson planning), 2) flexibilization of cooperation between teachers within the school and university contexts through digital tools (digital competencies).

Principal investigators: Dr. rer. nat. Eva Becker, Prof. Dr. Fritz Staub (key subject 4)

Motivation and Wellbeing of Students and Teachers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The project is concerned with the influence of belonging-related behaviors by lecturers on the sense of belonging by students as well as their attitudes, motivation, and wellbeing regarding online learning during the measures taken to contain COVID-19. Apart from lecturers’ behaviors, a possible impact concerning the type of course (e.g. seminar vs. lecture) and the communication channel used (e.g. video vs. no video) is also analyzed. Furthermore, the requirements for contentment and wellbeing of the lecturers during the online courses are analyzed as well.

Principal investigators: Dr. phil. Vanda Sieber, Prof. Dr. Anna Praetorius (key subject 2)

Teaching Science at University (TSAU MOOC)

At universities, teaching is mainly done by professional researchers with little pedagogical training. This research project regards the use of a “Massive Open Online Course” (MOOC) as a means to support academic teaching staff at universities in their development of abilities to use pedagogical best practices in their individual courses.

Principal investigators: MA Sara Petchey, Prof. Dr. Kai Niebert (key subjects 2 and 4)

Homework Engagement and Digital Cheating (PISA 2018)

Within the framework of the accompanying surveys of PISA 2018, 15-year old students from Switzerland were asked a series of additional questions regarding possible problematic behavior concerning homework, e.g. secretly using internet sources and copying each other’s work via social media. The study aims at complementing the data on productive media use concerning homework with data on a possible downside in order to get a more differentiated picture and to explore correlations with test performances.

Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Dominik Petko (key subject 3)

S-CLEVER. School Development Facing New Challenges

During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools had to find digital solutions for teaching and learning of students and the cooperation between teachers in a short time. The goal of the S-CLEVER study is to analyze the corresponding strategies of school development as well as their positive or negative effects on learning and learning success of students.

Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Katharina Maag Merki (key subjects 3, 4, and 5)