What I do... in research

Yes, I design and develop experiences  (German: Erlebnisse) but not sure if that makes people's lives "simple", rather they make it 'simple' to access learning opportunities (access to organized material, content, goals, processes, assessment, interactions and so forth) but learning itself is rather a complex and sometimes challenging process. 

My research focuses on sociotechnical-pedagogical design for human-centered learning and work processes. In short, sociotechnical-pedagogical integration means to study the interrelationship of social structures, technical systems and pedagogies.

Through the development of learning technologies and analyzing learner or user practices, my goal is to contribute to active-meaningful learning in digital environments or when using digital technologies.

"Learners" include students, workplace learners, teachers, and educators. In the past years, most of my work has emphasized formal learning. However, in my early career I also studied informal learning settings (e.g., Jahnke, 2010: "A way out of the information jungle - a longitudinal study about a socio-technical community and informal learning in higher education").

My research discipline in the international world is called Learning Design & Technologies (previously known as educational technologies). My work includes user/learner experience studies.

A list of my projects is seen on this sub-page "Research Projects.

I have built my research agenda on two areas:

a) Digital Didactical Designs (DDD) - This is a framework for researchers and teachers to design digital learning toward active and student-centered learning (Jahnke, 2015) . When I was in tablet schools in Denmark and Sweden in 2011-2014, I observed that the teachers used the tablet, the online space, and the physical place in a new way. They somehow merged the "rooms", places and spaces and new communication spaces emerged. I call this phenomenon "CrossActionSpaces" - where the learning happens (details in: Jahnke, 2015, Routledge). DDD is also a framework for teachers to evaluate their digital learning in the classroom practice. In my research, I study the further development of such a framework that helps teachers to design, evaluate and improve their learning designs.

b) Learner/User Experience Research Methods (UX and LX)  (German: Lerner/Nutzer Erlebnis) - When researchers or teachers design digital learning, they need data for further development or evaluation. In this research area, I use user experience methods such as task-based think-aloud, system usability scale, follow-up interviews, usability studies, sociotechnical-pedagogical usability,  approaches from the field of human-computer interaction and  sociotechnical design. The goal here is to investigate the learner experience when interacting wiht instructional (or educational) technologies, and to study the qualitative and quantitative effects e.g., the efficiency, effectiveness, or appeal of learning in digital environments such as online courses or the use of digital tools in teaching and learning. In further research, I study new methods of UX and LX to analyze and develop positive learner experience in different socio-cultural contexts and groups.

My theoretical lens is built on communication theories and influenced by social systems theory (Luhmann, 1999) and social roles (Jahnke, 2005; 2010).  I see the creation of a  "digital learning design"  as a communicative act of different stakeholders whose mental models can be the same, overlap in some thinking, or can be very different from each other. In simple words, what the didaktik-designer, technology-designer, teacher or student think about the learning activity, may differ. That can negatively affect the learner experience and learning effectiveness.  Here I use learner/user experience methods to clarify the mental models of users and learners. If there are any differences the data can help to make informed decisions, i.e., improving the digital learning design. 

My cross-cultural International knowledge has developed from social, educational and computer sciences as a professor in Germany, Sweden and the United States. My published scholarship includes the development of theories, methods and prototypes. I am a researcher, specialized in educational design research, advisor, teacher, instructor, and conduct workshops for teachers, educators, and educational developers on technology integration.


With my work -- developing and analyzing  learning experiences in digital environments -- I contribute to more effective teaching and learning designs. Results lead to design of the 'classroom of the future' focusing on creative teaching and active learning practices, or improved work processes.  Results from my research show, for example, how to apply creativity in education, how to utilize effective remote labs in engineering education, how to make use of tablets in schools for active-meaningful learning.