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31/05/2023 New Publication

Happy to announce a new publication by Isabell Stein, Helen Jossberger and Hans Gruber entitled "MAP3D: An explorative approach for automatic mapping of real-world eye-tracking data on a virtual 3D model", which was published in the Journal of Eye Movement Research. If you are interested in reading the open access article please find it here.


Mobile eye tracking helps to investigate real-world settings, in which participants can move freely. This enhances the studies’ ecological validity but poses challenges for the analysis. Often, the 3D stimulus is reduced to a 2D image (reference view) and the fixations are manually mapped to this 2D image. This leads to a loss of information about the three-dimensionality of the stimulus. Using several reference images, from different perspectives, poses new problems, in particular concerning the mapping of fixations in the transition areas between two reference views. A newly developed approach (MAP3D) is presented that enables generating a 3D model and automatic mapping of fixations to this virtual 3D model of the stimulus. This avoids problems with the reduction to a 2D reference image and with transitions between images. The x, y and z coordinates of the fixations are available as a point cloud and as .csv output. First exploratory application and evaluation tests are promising: MAP3D offers innovative ways of post-hoc mapping fixation data on 3D stimuli with open-source software and thus provides cost-efficient new avenues for research.

26/04/2023 SimPro Conference in Gothenburg

The third international conference on analysing practices and advancing pedagogies for professional learning (SimPro 2023) was held in Gothenburg on the 26th of April 2023. In his presentation entitled “Examining the transfer from simulation to patient: perspectives from a novel approach to teach airway management”, Stefan Hanus introduced the design of a planned empirical study aiming at investigating the transfer of skills learned in a simulated environment to real-life patients. The SimPro conference was focussed on bringing together research on simulation-based training from several professional domains. Researchers from Sweden, Norway, and Germany participated. The conference was held in a free hybrid format so that educators, researchers, practitioners, and students in simulation-based training could join. More information about the programme and the conference can be found here.

26/04/2023 Workshop at the HNPW

Helen Jossberger was involved in an interactive workshop entitled “Training the Next Generation of Humanitarian Workers Through University Simulation Exercises - An Interactive Workshop” that was organised by Marie Goss and Alicia Schumann (OTH Regensburg) at the Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks (HNPW) in Geneva. The HNPW is an annual event where humanitarian networks and partnerships organize meetings to inform about, and further advance related activities, and to collaborate with other networks and partnerships in areas of common concern. The objective of the workshop was to elaborate on the function of university simulation exercises like GLOBE in equipping next-generation humanitarians with important skills as well as competencies and in recruiting them for the humanitarian sector. In her presentation, Helen talked about the potential of simulations for learning followed by an engaging discussion with the audience. Here you can find more information about the programme and the conference.

13/02/2023 New Publication

Klaus D. Stiller, Silke Schworm, and Hans Gruber jointly contributed a chapter entitled “Learning with and from illustrations: Cognitive, motivational, affective, social and metacognitive processes” to a book edited by Dominic E. Delarue and Christoph Wagner (Institute of History of Art at the University of Regensburg). The book is a collection of essays from the “Sehen und Verstehen Alliance of the University of Regensburg”, an interdisciplinary network focusing on visualisations, visual artifacts and visual processes.

Abstract of the chapter: Illustrations are an essential component of all kinds of learning material. Although there is a long empirical tradition of investigating learning with illustrations, the research has been primarily based on cognitive theories. Two influential theories that continue to advance the literature is the Cognitive Load Theory and the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning. More recently, research has also focussed on motivational, affective and social processes that are triggered or influenced by illustration design and thus can affect learning processes, but studies in this area are limited. In this paper, we introduce an integrative theory of learning with media that builds on the two cognitive theories, discuss how illustrations affect learning by evoking and supporting cognitive, motivational, affective, social and metacognitive processes, report empirical evidence and present examples of how it can be put into practice.

27/01/2023 New Publication

Anja Taylor, Helen Jossberger and Hans Gruber published an article entitled "Purposeful practice as the key to superior sales performance: An exploratory analysis" in the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice. Interested readers can find the article here.


Although sales performance is well researched, relatively little is known about what salespeople actively do to improve and achieve superior reproducible performance. We extend existing research by examining purposeful practice, a core concept from expertise research, as a potential contribution to skill development in sales, a heretofore unexplored framework. The exploratory research sets out for a better understanding of purposeful sales practice and potential activities that successful professionals engage in for self-improvement using a sequential two-phase research approach. By comparing different expertise level groups, particular characteristics of expert performance are identified and can be used so less-skilled salespeople become better.

14/11/2022 Special Issue

Interested in simulation-based learning in higher education and professional training? Check out the completed special issue “Assessment and Evaluation of Simulation-Based Learning in Higher Education and Professional Training” in Studies of Educational Evaluation that Dorothy Duchatelet, Helen Jossberger, and Andreas Rausch edited.

You can find the introduction, the nine contributions of various disciplines and professions, and the discussion here.

11/10/2022 Congratulation

The commission (f.l. Prof. Dr. Hans Gruber, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Frick, Prof. Dr. Mark W. Greenlee) with doctoral student Miles Tallon (2nd from right). © Greenlee/University of Regensburg

The first doctoral student of the HSD Hochschule Döpfer, Miles Tallon, has defended his doctoral thesis entitled "Assessment of Visual Literacy – Contributions of Eye Tracking" successfully at the University of Regensburg (see the press release at the UR Homepage).

22/09/2022 New Publication

Helen Jossberger, Jan Breckwoldt und Hans Gruber published an article entitled „Promoting Expertise Through Simulation (PETS): A conceptual framework” in the journal Learning and Instruction. Happy to share the 50 days' free access to the article.


Questioning how and why simulations can be suitable for supporting intraindividual learning and expertise development motivated this study. We depart from an empirically well supported cognitive perspective of expertise that focusses on cognitive adaptations through long-term engagement with professional work activities. The strength of simulation learning is seen in its multiple explanatory base, which is used to build the framework PETS (Promoting Expertise Through Simulation). The PETS model specifically addresses how simulations can contribute to intraindividual knowledge restructuring through case processing and learner-tailored guidance of a trainer supporting the thorough engagement in deliberate practice activities to go beyond automatization. Preparation, briefing, repetitive practice opportunities, and debriefing are phases of instructional embedding in simulation learning for which the PETS model identifies important prerequisites to enhance understanding of what works for whom under which conditions and why during expertise development.

23/08/2022 Defense of Linda Puppe's doctoral thesis

On August 23rd, 2022, Linda Puppe defended her doctoral thesis entitled "Professional development in sculpture" successfully. The defense lasted about one hour with a 20-minute presentation of the main findings and 40 minutes of questions by the examination committee. The members of examination committee were Prof. Dr. Sven HIlbert (University of Regensburg), Prof. Dr. Els Boshuizen (Open University of The Netherlands), and Prof. Dr. Hans Gruber (University of Regensburg). The defense took place in a hybrid format and about 20 persons attended live or via Zoom.

The doctoral thesis will be published soon via the library of the University of Regensburg. Then, Linda Puppe is authorized to use the doctoral title officially.

Congratulations, Linda! Well done and all the best wishes for your future career.

22/08/2022 New Publication

Helen Jossberger published a chapter entitled "Eye tracking in professional learning and development: Uncovering Expertise Development Among Residents in Radiology" in the book "Methods for researching professional learning and development: Challenges, applications and empirical illustrations" edited by Michael Goller, Eva Kyndt, Susanna Paloniemi, and Crina Damsa (SpringerLink).


Eye tracking is a particularly interesting technology for investigating professional learning and development in vision-intensive professions. At the workplace, professionals are often confronted with complex visual tasks that they must solve quickly. From a psychological and educational point of view, it is interesting to examine professionals’ attentional behaviours during work activities and to understand how they analyse and interpret visual input. Common to vision-intensive professions is the notion that professionals need the ability to perceive the relevant from the irrelevant and correctly interpret it. A radiologist, for instance, needs to make correct medical diagnoses based on complex visual material. Eye tracking enables the measurement of eye movements. By tracking the movements of the eyeball(s), we can learn where a person is looking, the duration of his or her gaze, and the order of the eye movements. Eye-tracking technology does not explain the underlying motives of looking; it only visualises gaze behaviour. The focus of this chapter is the meaning of eye tracking, the purposes of its application and the aspects of eye tracking that warrant attention. To illustrate the challenges and benefits of using eye-tracking technology in workplace learning, an empirical study in the medical domain is presented. A longitudinal quasi-experimental study with three measurement points was designed with the aim of investigating expertise development among eight residents of a radiology department and to identify changes in their way of analysing and diagnosing medical X-ray images during their residency.

22/08/2022 SIG 14 Conference in Paderborn

The 11th Sig 14 conference was held in Paderborn from 17-19 August 2022. After the conference cancellation in 2020 due to the pandemic, it was a special pleasure to be able to exchange ideas again, listen to exciting presentations and attend social events live. It was the conference's 20 years anniversary and as one of the founders of the SIG 14 Learning and Professional Development, Hans Gruber shared valuable insights about the past, present and future of the SIG in his keynote speech. Moreover, he acted as discussant in the symposium "Methods for researching professional learning and development: Challenges, applications, and empirical illustrations". Melanie Troll and Stefan Hanus both presented a poster. You can download them: Poster Troll et al. and Poster Hanus et al. Helen Jossberger presented a study entitled "Expertise differences in translating Latin: An eye-tracking study", in which she joined forces with Alfred Lindl. If you are interested in the full programme have a look here. The organising team did a wonderful job. Thanks a lot! It was a great conference!

28/07/2022 Good Reasons for Writing a Learning Diary

In a short blog entry, Helen Jossberger reports on her experiences in teaching. As a term paper, the students wrote a learning diary. Writing a diary is usually top secret. Can it be used for teaching at all? Or is the idea of a diary even outdated? Together with her students, Helen gave it a try during her advanced course "Nature-nurture debate in expertise research”. If you are interested, you can find the blog in Lehrblick.

25/07/2022 JURE 2022 in Porto

From July 18th – 22nd, 2022 the 26th Conference of the JUnior REsearchers of EARLI (European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction) took place in Porto, Portugal. The theme of the conference was “Unpredictable challenges – Education in an unpredictable world”. During the conference, many junior researchers presented their current research in poster, paper, or roundtable sessions. Three keynotes were held by established researchers and 16 workshops offered the possibility to gain insights into different research methodologies and the PhD career in general. Different social events provided the possibility for the participants to get known to each other in an informal setting. Check out the conference homepage to learn more about JURE 2022.

Simon Schmidt, Stefan Hanus, and Barbara Hrabetz presented their projects in paper sessions. Simon presented his work on “Does music genre matter? Effects of motivation, self-efficacy, and experience on deliberate practice”, Stefan’s presentation focused on “Comparison of verbal and video-assisted debriefing: Perspectives of participants and facilitators” and Barbara’s presentation on “The social dimension of pro-environmental commitment”. Manuel Längler presented his work on “Using MMSNA to explore change in networks of popular musicians” in an invited symposium of the SIG17 entitled “Illustrations of innovative (mixed) methods in educational research”. Hans Gruber and Laura Mesquita (Elsevier) offered a workshop on “Academic Publishing“.

The feedback and discussions during the sessions were very valuable. Thanks for a great conference!

19/07/2022 New Publication

Recently, Rainer Schliermann, Irmgard Schroll-Decker, Rabia Kökten, and Hans Gruber published an article on „Engagement for social justice: Findings on the acquisition of a typical learning aim for students of social work“ (title in German: „Engagement für soziale Gerechtigkeit als Lernergebnis. Eine Untersuchung zur Rolle des Praxissemesters und informeller Lernkontexte bei Studierenden der Sozialen Arbeit“) in the prestigious social education journal neue praxis. Their contribution is a collaboration between the University of Regensburg and the OTH Regensburg and resulted from findings of a master thesis.

Abstract (in German)

Die Fähigkeit und Bereitschaft zur Förderung sozialer Gerechtigkeit ist ein wichtiges Studienziel in Studiengängen Sozialer Arbeit. In einer Studie wurde überprüft, ob das Studium der Sozialen Arbeit und die währenddessen selbstinitiierte Praxis von Studierenden mit höherem Engagement für soziale Gerechtigkeit einhergehen. Theoretische Grundlage war das Entwicklungsmodell Social Justice Interest and Commitment (Miller et al., 2009). Es wurde untersucht, ob sich mit formalen und informellen Lernerfahrungen die sozial-kognitiven bzw. motivationalen Voraussetzungen des Engagements für soziale Gerechtigkeit verbessern, insbesondere auch die Selbstwirksamkeits- und Ergebniserwartungen. Dazu wurden 362 Studierende befragt; einerseits wurden Studierende der Sozialen Arbeit und der Betriebswirtschaft im ersten Studienabschnitt miteinander verglichen, andererseits wurden unter anderem Studierende der Sozialen Arbeit vor und nach dem Praxissemester miteinander verglichen. Im ersten Studienabschnitt wiesen Studierende der Sozialen Arbeit höhere Werte im Engagement für soziale Gerechtigkeit auf als Studierende der Betriebswirtschaft. Demgegenüber unterschieden sich Studierende der Sozialen Arbeit nach dem Praxissemester nicht von jenen vor dem Praxissemester. Vorangegangenes soziales bzw. ehrenamtliches Engagement erwies sich hingegen für die Förderung des Engagements für soziale Gerechtigkeit als bedeutsam. Insgesamt scheinen informelle Lernkontexte in Bezug auf die Entwicklung des Engagements für soziale Gerechtigkeit bedeutsamer zu sein als formale Lernarrangements.

Schliermann, R., Schroll-Decker, I., Kökten, R., & Gruber, H. (2022). Engagement für soziale Gerechtigkeit als Lernergebnis. Eine Untersuchung zur Rolle des Praxissemesters und informeller Lernkontexte bei Studierenden der Sozialen Arbeit. neue praxis. Zeitschrift für Sozialarbeit, Sozialpädagogik und Sozialpolitik, 52(2/2022), 159–181.

01/07/2022 New Publication

Isabell Stein, M.A. Dr. Helen Jossberger Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Hans Gruber

Isabell Stein, Helen Jossberger and Hans Gruber published an article on "Investigating visual expertise in sculpture: A methodological approach using eye tracking". The article is published in the Journal of Eye Movement Research and can be viewed here.


Research on visual expertise has progressed significantly due to the availability of eye tracking tools. However, attempts to bring together research on expertise and eye tracking methodology provoke several challenges, because visual information processes should be studied in authentic and domain-specific environments. Among the barriers to designing appropriate research are the proper definition of levels of expertise, the tension between internal (experimental control) and external (authentic environments) validity, and the appropriate methodology to study eye movements in a three-dimensional environment. This exploratory study aims to address these challenges and to provide an adequate research setting by investigating visual expertise in sculpting. Eye movements and gaze patterns of 20 participants were investigated while looking at two sculptures in a museum. The participants were assigned to four different groups based on their level of expertise (laypersons, novices, semi-experts, experts). Using mobile eye tracking, the following parameters were measured: number of fixations, duration of fixation, dwell time in relevant areas, and revisits in relevant areas. Moreover, scan paths were analysed using the eyenalysis approach. Conclusions are drawn on both the nature of visual expertise in sculpting and the potential (and limitations) of empirical designs that aim to investigate expertise in authentic environments.

  2. Institute of Educational Science

Chair holder

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans Gruber

Visiting Professor, University of Turku, Finland

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Gruber

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Mail: Hans.Gruber[at]ur.de
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