The Educational Technology Lab (EdTec) at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) focuses on using artificial intelligence and innovative software technologies to support the training, qualification and education processes of scholastic, academic and professional basic and further training. The emergence of technology, education and organisation in networked, digitised worlds is particularly relevant in research, development, innovation and transformation. Academics work together with partners for research and science, the digital and education economies, spinoffs, EdTec startups, and young companies in e-learning and digital education.
Providing personalized and adaptive learning is a challenge both in higher education as well as in workplace settings. It can be provided on the cognitive and meta-cognitive level, using such technologies as recommender systems, and learning analytics. The traditional solutions based on formal models of domain, learner, and pedagogy can, nowadays, be complemented with machine learning approaches, where AI methods are utilized to generate required models. In our projects, we cooperate not only with traditional universities, but also with an open university and industrial partners on the development of innovative solutions, like scalable mentoring or automatic assessment tools.
To achieve high learning motivation and success, it is crucial that learners can engage with learning content interactively and try out learned concepts–especially for procedural and psychomotor skills. To construct interactive learning environments, the EdTech lab includes a wide variety of devices and methods, such as 3D cameras and motion tracking (MILKI-PSY), interactive e-learning environments (MyMI.mobile, ePA-Coach), as well as VR/AR technologies (VoluProf). Interactive learning environments can simulate the practical application scenario–be it running training on a treadmill or learning to repair a machine on the factory shop floor. We engage in basic research, developing new educational technologies, as well as applied research to translate concepts into prototypes for learning environments with public and industrial partners.
With AI systems affecting more and more areas of life, it becomes increasingly important to consider ethical and social challenges and aim at AI applications that are beneficial both for individuals and society. Our Lab contributes to DFKI's mission of ethical, value-oriented, and human-centric AI with activities in various projects. In HR4.0, we focus on the early involvement of employees and social partners in the development and implementation of AI applications. Such systems can potentially improve equal access to all levels of education and training. In KI.ASSIST, we particularly analyze opportunities and challenges of AI-based assistive technologies to support persons with disabilities in vocational rehabilitation.
Artificial intelligence in education is rapidly evolving, which makes it challenging to maintain an overview and coordinate progress. We continuously monitor the state of the art in Germany and abroad, distill key findings in reports, and coordinate the collaboration between researchers and practitioners. In KWW, we lead the national future center for AI knowledge and education, distilling knowledge for small and medium companies and coordinating the cooperation between regional AI future centers. In INVITE-Meta, we coordinate the research cooperation between projects in the INVITE innovation competition and provide reports, distilling the current state of research and policy for AI for vocational education. In KIBB, we survey the state of the art in AIED in Germany, with a special focus on vocational training.
Our research group considers AI not only as a means for designing educational technology, but also as an important topic for education itself that needs to be addressed throughout the education sectors, from school to continuous education. We thus research how to teach AI to different target groups and offer professional training courses and workshops, such as AI and Leadership. Furthermore, Prof. Pinkwart is the scientific director of the KI-Campus project which delivers numerous high-quality and free AI online courses for students and the interested public.