Performance Assessment of Domain-specific and Generic Use of Online Media by Young Professionals in Law, Medicine, and Teacher Training

Young professionals are increasingly using online media as a tool to acquire information and knowledge. The critical use of online information in learning and work processes in the professions of medicine, law, and teaching is regarded as a highly practically relevant competence facet. However, the influence of online media used in job-specific educational processes has hardly been researched yet. Training and learning programs fostering the reflected use of online information have been insufficiently implemented so far.
The aim of the collaborative research project BRIDGE, conducted under the umbrella of the new BMBF funding initiative "Research for the Design of Educational Processes under the Conditions of Digital Change", is to assess young professionals’ critical online reasoning and to investigate whether a newly developed digital training tool promotes this ability.
In a longitudinal design, the general critical online reasoning (GEN-GOR) and domain-specific critical online reasoning (DOM-COR) of young professionals from three different study domains – medicine, law, and teacher training – are measured in real time in an ecologically valid manner using online performance assessments and analyzed using innovative approaches such as educational data mining and text mining based on approaches from computer linguistics and learning analytics. GEN-COR is assessed in a natural online environment and DOM-COR is assessed using computer-based simulations in which the young professionals are preparing job-specific documents (e.g. written case reports).
In all three professions, the particular importance of using online information is evident. At the same time, there are subject-specific differences with regard to learning opportunities, which allows us to comparatively examine the domain-specificity of the development and promotion of media use in various practical vocational education contexts. For the data triangulation of the findings, the young professionals’ trainers will also evaluate the documents written by their students. The study aims to provide scientific findings on job-related media use and how it can be effectively influenced in professional practice.
The core of the project is a newly developed online training that teaches participants how to critically deal with online information by fostering self-learning strategies. For the ecologically valid assessment of the target constructs, an in vivo recording of process data (log data, browsing patterns, online sources used, eye movements, and screenshots) as well as result-related data (prepared case reports) is conducted. The resulting large amounts of data from the pre-post measurement are then analyzed semi-automatically to evaluate the effectiveness of the digital training environment. Conducting this technologically challenging study in a didactic context of this magnitude in higher education would also benefit other educational institutions that may still be hesitant to use such virtual environments as a blended learning tool for the ecologically valid assessment and promotion of reflected online media use in their courses.

Professor Dr. Olga Zlatkin-Troitschanskaia
Gutenberg School of Management and Economics
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
55099 Mainz, GERMANY
phone +49 6131 39-22009
fax +49 6131 39-22095