How do children learn so much about the world so quickly and efficiently? This is exactly the question that a new Max Planck Research Group has been set up to answer. It will investigate how children expand their knowledge of the world by actively searching for information.
The new research group, “iSearch—Information Search, Ecological and Active Learning Research with Children”, was launched in early 2017. Headed by psychologist Azzurra Ruggeri, it investigates children’s learning strategies and their effectiveness.
The research group’s focus is on the concept of “ecological learning”, that is, how flexibly and dynamically children adapt their strategies of exploring the world to different learning situations. In both theoretical work and laboratory and field studies, the research group investigates how young children search for information independently.
Specifically, the group is working to develop tests for children aged between two and twelve years, which will be implemented in the group’s new laboratory as well as in collaboration with schools and other educational institutions, museums and recreational facilities.
“The aim of our research is to find out which kinds of active learning are beneficial in which learning environments. Ultimately, we are interested in developing an approach to classroom learning that leverages children’s active learning strategies and theory-building abilities,” says Azzurra Ruggeri.
The group’s findings will be made available to educational scientists and practitioners in order to promote the development and evaluation of novel teaching methods.