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Knowledge transfer through Microlearning

In 2016 the "Integrata-Foundation" for Human Use of Information Technology has again awarded its Wolfgang-Heilmann-Prize. The prize titled "Knowledge transfer through Microlearning - cognitive-conscious and ubiquitous devices" goes to the research group with our colleague Dr. Lewis Chuang, MPI for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen (incl. Prof. Dr. Albrecht Schmidt, Dr. Tonja Machulla, Tilman Dingler - Institute for Visualization, Uni Stuttgart). The prizes will be awarded today at the LEARNTEC in Karlsruhe.

The prize was issued under the motto education for the e-Society. Projects and concepts for education were of particular interest in a society completely permeated by IT, in order to lead a self-determined and responsible life. The outstanding work was very well suited to this claim.

See an interview with Lewis Chuang:

1. Why were you interested in this topic?

In an age of rapid technological innovation and work automation, we are likely to see our formally acquired skills and knowledge fade rapidly into obsolescence. The popularity of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) suggest that individuals are receptive to embrace a future of continuous self-development. While access to learning material is readily available, many struggle in re-structuring their daily lives and activities around learning new material. We believe that ubiquitous computing, namely mobile access on personal devices to digital media, could serve as a way to centre learning around individual preferences and circumstances.

2. What should the average person take away from your study?

The small packets of time between daily activities (e.g., at the bus-stop) could be re-directed towards learning “bite-sized” content, tailored to one’s goals. “Micro-learning” strives to facilitate individual access to information without resulting in information overload. We propose a computing architecture that considers technological as well as user capabilities and limitations.

3. Are there any major caveats? What questions still need to be addressed?

Our proposal is purely conceptual. This attempt was a side-project that did not demand anything more than the contributors’ willingness to meet outside of work to discuss and to put into writing our collective ideas. Our ideas provide a principled basis for future empirical investigations, whereby a system based on our proposal is actually implemented for mass mobile device deployment.

4. Is there anything else you would like to add?

We believe that digital media provides a transformative opportunity for mass education. In the same way that public education allowed for knowledge acquisition across class boundaries, ubiquitous computing provides the economically viable means for individually tailored education. This was a privilege that was previously reserved for those who could afford stay-at-home tutors.

For more information, see

Personal page of Opens internal link in current window Lewis Chuang
Last updated: Tuesday, 24.01.2017