I am a professor of Digital Ecosystems at the Centre for Educational Technology at Tallinn University in Estonia. Before coming here I was a post-doc at the Cognitive Science Section at the University of Graz and a senior researcher at the Know-Center, Austria’s Competence Center for Knowledge Management.
My main research interests are in the areas of technology-enhanced learning, especially in professional and workplace settings. I am particularly interested in how people interact and learn in social and intelligent environments that are mediated by information technology. In doing so, I look at different levels where learning takes place: the organizational, the community and the individual level.
In recent years, social software has become a major factor in learning and development, especially when we look at how people learn informally. Wikis, Weblogs or Social Tagging environments all have in common that people interact more or less directly. It has been suggested that through this social interaction these environments have some emergent properties, meaning that the what comes out is more than a simple addition of individual contributions.
From a psychological point of view, it is especially interesting to examine the more basic mechanisms for these emergent processes. For example, when using social environments, people draw on others’ contributions by imitating others, by categorizing what they see or by adapting their own views. For researching this, I draw on different models known in cognitive science that describe learning processes on different levels of abstraction, such as Knowledge Space Theory, Associative and Semantic Networks, or Multinomial Models of processing in memory.
So I see myself as bridging two worlds – information and computer science on the one hand, and psychological and behavioral sciences on the other. I think a good way of doing this is by employing formal models used in psychology which can be directly applied in intelligent software applications.