Research Focus

Research Areas and Questions
PLATO tackles challenges arising from the ever-increasing influence of online media and biased information, and examines the effects they have on the way students process information and acquire knowledge online.

PLATO aims to substantially contribute to answering four overarching research questions:

Online Learning and Critical Online Reasoning
What are key characteristics of self-directed online learning, and systematic differences to lecturer-guided learning in institutionalized (university) contexts? When studying on domain-related topics, how do students select, evaluate, and use online sources and information?
Information Landscape and Media Features
What characteristics and features of the online information landscape become apparent in an in-depth multidisciplinary analysis, and how do they differ from those of recommended learning materials? How do these features affect learning processes online (e.g., regarding accuracy of or trust in information)?
Learner Characteristics and Learning Outcomes
How do online learning processes interact with student characteristics? How does this relation affect learning outcomes?
Learning Interventions
How can tailored training on online learning be provided that takes into account student characteristics, online learning environments, and information use strategies, to foster more targeted learning outcomes?