Max Planck Institute for Human Development

As soon as they are born, humans be­ gin to explore and engage with the world around them. Toddlers are already able to use various different strategies depending on the situation at hand: They may touch objects and people, interact with them, or consciously avoid them. Later, they begin to ask questions and to investigate the many new phenomena that they encounter every day of their young lives. The MPRG iSearch, which was founded in 2016, analyzes how children between the ages of two and twelve actively search for information in their physical and social en­ vironment. The researchers use experiments and observational studies to investigate the effectiveness of the various strategies that children apply. The focus is on the concept of “ecological learning”—that is, how fle­ xibly and dynamically children adapt their strategies of exploring the world to diffe­ rent learning situations. The research group is also interested in identifying the cognitive mechanisms—such as language or memory skills—underlying developmental changes in the use of these strategies. The group takes a multidisciplinary ap­ proach, drawing on methods and theories from developmental and cognitive psycho­ logy, philosophy, educational science, sta­ tistics, as well as computer modeling. This work is conducted in the laboratory, as well as in collaboration with Berlinbased educational institutions and museums. By providing new insights into the benefits of active learning, the researchers hope to support education experts in developing novel approaches to classroom learning. MPRG iSearch | Information Search, Ecological and Active Learning Research With Children Research Group Leader: Prof. Dr. Azzurra Ruggeri 8