Research Themes & Projects

Smart Technologies for Students with Diverse Needs: A sizeable percentage of learners could benefit from additional support at some point during their learning trajectory, if not throughout. Our focus is on developing impactful technologies, which start from a true understanding of learners and their needs/desires and make use of the latest advances in AI, IoT, etc., but which can be deployed in real settings because of their ease of use, low cost, and desirability.  

Human Interaction with Smart Learning Environments: The goal is to introduce radical advances in how built environments support individual and collaborative learning processes. Concretely, the group investigates the impact of built environments that accommodate learning on (1) the cognitive performance of students and educators, (2) the visual, thermal, and acoustic comfort supporting learners in performing pedagogical practices, and (3) interpersonal interactions among students leading to collaborative learning. As part of this research theme, the group is working on the Spatial Inequality in Hybrid Learning project: Learning capacities can be substantially impacted by the qualities of the environment such as lighting, acoustics, and air quality, as well as the social attributes of the space. With the new wave of online and hybrid education, moving learning activities from shared school environments to homes can lead to growing inequality in terms of access to proper conditions for learning – a confluence of several socio-spatial parameters highly variable in different homes. To recognize such inequalities and identify the influencing factors, we propose conducting a large-scale survey on “learning environments at homes”, their availability, qualities, configurations, and household strategies for improvement. 

Digital Health and Wellbeing: The focus of this research is on the development, use, implementation, and evaluation of innovative, digital technologies, digital interaction, and an understanding and application of the bigger data picture in the application domain of public wellbeing and health. This interdisciplinary research is conducted together with users and in close collaboration with the professional field, industry, and education. One example of our research in this area focuses on human-robot interaction, in which we are exploring assistive technologies and acceptance and (long-term) use of robots, as well as more generally interactive technologies for specific target groups like supporting elderly and children with lifestyle behaviours. In another example of our research in this area, we are exploring the function of and the different types of realism in digital interfaces and virtual environments, to explore how these should be designed for (or avoided!) to facilitate enjoyable and efficient human-computer interaction that has a net positive effect on users’ wellbeing.