Human-Centred Technologies for Educational Media

The MTB department researches and develops digital infrastructures and tools for use in international educational media research, which are based in the department’s own research as well as on data and findings from the Institute’s other departments. Developing, implementing and maintaining digital research tools are just as intrinsic to the work of the department as integrating and developing processes for machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing. The researchers in the department work on interdisciplinary research projects within the digital humanities. All digital products and services are evaluated by the department through a process of systematic monitoring and are complemented by research in the areas of personalisation, usability and user modelling, largely conducted in the usability lab.

  • Research

    The research conducted by the department is interdisciplinary and takes place at the interface between computer science, the humanities and information science disciplines. This includes the development of new processes and methodologies in the computer sciences and the modification and enhancement of existing ones. It also includes work on systems and user-oriented research questions based in the information sciences in order to safeguard research-based consultancy, monitoring and implementation during requirement-based design and conception, and the further development of digital infrastructures for educational media research. MTB also explores the use and application of digital tools and approaches within educational media research with the aim of applying findings from research, transformation and development processes associated with digitally supported working process in the humanities to the planning and implementation of such tools for specific target groups. In addition, the department translates the requirements of educational media research to computer and information science disciplines in order to generate and answer new theoretical and methodological research questions.

    In the usability lab our work concentrates on the entire process of human-centred design with a particular focus on user research and on evaluating the usability of tools and services produced by the GEI for use within educational media research. This involves input from a range of internal and external interest groups.

    In such instances human-centred design serves as a design approach that aims to make interactive systems more user-friendly by focusing on the use of interactive systems, on incorporating the requirements and needs of users, and on applying knowledge and methods from the fields of human factors engineering, ergonomics, and usability. MTB makes adaptations according to the individual users and their aims, tasks, resources and environments, which can be continually refined through usability evaluation. User experience (UX) research incorporating four approaches is essential to this process:

    • User (experience) research focusses on the understanding of user behaviour, needs and motivation, using observation techniques, task analysis and other feedback methods.
    • Usability evaluation: in order to analyse user friendliness, information is collected on the qualitative experience of the user in an interactive system with the aim of improving their experience or of evaluating the usability of the interactive system.
    • Usability Inspection comprises a range of methods through which one or more evaluators use or study an interactive system in order to identify potential usability problems and aspects that deviate from user requirements or needs. This enables interaction principles, heuristic solutions and guidelines to be established.
    • User surveys: a method of data collection in which users are asked to complete a questionnaire detailing their experiences, opinions and specific facts.

    The GEI‘s work in the area of human-centred artificial intelligence focusses on the development, implementation and evaluation of NLP- (natural language processing) and IR (information retrieval) approaches within the following services:

  • Research Infrastructures / Transfer

    The MTB department researches digital information infrastructures and tools according to the needs and requirements of educational media researchers, using findings from its own research as well as data and results from other GEI departments. It also researches digital information infrastructures at the GEI specific to the library, as well as working in cooperation with the research library to conduct research into technical library services. MTB is also responsible for establishing, consolidating and operating systematic monitoring of digital infrastructures at the GEI. The department provides consultancy services with regards to the design, development and maintenance of processes related to the digital infrastructure and tools used and offered by the Institute. Two current projects in this area are the Edumeres Toolbox and the Usability-Lab.