Monday, 21. March 2011 21.03.11 15:25 Age: 7 Jahre

Lifelong Learning in social Networks
The Department of Computer Science takes part in an EU Project for extra-occupational knowledge acquisition

By: Katharina Bätz

The Project "MATURE", at which Tobias Nelkner is involved, facilitates life-long learning at the working place. (Photo: Katharina Bätz)

Paderborn. The human being does not only learn during his schooldays or the professional education: The significance to acquire knowledge beyond these stages is getting more and more important in the lives of each individual. That is because especially achievements in career can nowadays not be guaranteed through advanced training only. Caused by changing conditions of employment or the steadily new demands of society lifelong learning is increasingly important for employees. Since March 2008 the Department of Computer Science of the University of Paderborn supports the research to advance goal-orientated maturation processes in Learning- and Knowledge Acquisition of individuals and organizations. In line with the EU-project “MATURE” the scientists of the group “Didactic of Informatics” are working on possibilities to facilitate enduring learning.

“The main task of our project is to develop software that supports personal and informal learning at the workplace”, says Tobias Nelkner a member of research staff at the Department of Computer Science. “We want to help the individual person to learn during work time and to support the acquisition of knowledge in line with organizational targets”, he continues. This is accomplished by supplying the individuals with contextually fitting materials, by recommendation of experts or a demonstration of organizational processes. The cooperative approach of social networks sustains a particular prominence here as the knowledge of the individual becomes available for everyone and can be developed further. Experiences consistently revealed that the members of communities on the internet that share the same interests are highly motivated to participate in collaborative learning processes, which might for example arise through the exchange of ideas in weblogs. For MATURE these learning processes that are constructed on top of one another add up to a maturing process, in which the knowledge of the individual can constantly grow up. This recently attained knowledge can on the one hand take form as a classical document or content of knowledge. On the other hand it can also be applied to activities such as working techniques or tasks. „It is always important that the user himself is actively acting!”, as Tobias Nelkner clearly points out.

The software that was developed in cooperation with project partners supports the learning, as it conveys the reflection and presentation of information which make the search easier. It also connects colleagues and puts the focus on mutual exchange.

“With its help the individual is enabled to set up his working place to its specific tasks. It belongs to the individual and connects him to the community. The software supports the learning through individual adjustment and the allocation of the required information”, says Tobias Nelkner, in order to explain the idea which stands behind the compilation of the program. The application of the software is supposed to arouse awareness of learning processes which are randomly done on intention while working. “We want to enrich the context with work-connected information”, states Nelkner.

MATURE is an integrating project that runs until March 2012 and is supported with 9.1 million euros in its overall quadrennial duration. Twelve partners from five European countries participate in the project. Further information can be accessed at:

Dipl. Inform. Tobias Nelkner
Research Group: Didactics of Informatics
+49 (0)5251 60-6611