Department of Education and Human Development
A central aspect of quality in education is the individual development of persons in the entire range of their possible experiences and behaviour, such as, for instance, their cognitive and socio-emotional competence structures, attitudes, values and their motivational and volitional dispositions. The Department hence reconstructs developmental pathways in educational contexts empirically so that deeper insights can be gained into the potentials for development and the possibilities for changing individual behaviour and experiences. The main issue here concerns requirements and conditions necessary to allow the development of successful learning. The overall aim is to obtain theoretically and empirically based foundations for designing educational processes in childhood and youth as well as in late adulthood. In addition, the growing significance of educational contexts that lie outside traditional organisational structures is taken into account.
The Department bases its differential analyses of individual educational pathways on existing longitudinal studies as well as on its own longitudinal studies in design and implementation. These are supplemented by experimental and micro-genetic approaches including training studies that simulate development. Furthermore, diagnostic procedures are developed and standardised for assessing individual dispositions that are relevant to learning.
The Department's main focus is on:
- descriptions and explanations of the ontogenesis of individual cognitive, motivational and volitional competencies for successful learning;
- analyses on optimising the acquisition of individual competencies while taking into account the developmental level already attained;
- the description, explanation, diagnosis and treatment of children’s learning and achievement disorders;
- researching individual variations in and possible ways of influencing cognitive functioning in late adulthood;
- analyses of normative reference systems and research on the history of enculturation to clarify the cultural and historical nature of individual changes in development.
A substantial part of the Department's work contributes to two of the four closely related subject areas studied in the Center for „Research on Individual Development and Adaptive Education of Children at Risk“ (IDeA): "Resources and limitations of successful learning “ and "Diagnostics and prevention“.This Center was established with funds raised within the framework of Hessen's LOEWE-Initiative co-operatively by the DIPF and the Goethe- University Frankfurt/Main with the collaboration of the Sigmund-Freud-Institute. The Center is managed by the DIPF. It is an especially important multi-disciplinary programme which promotes basic and applied research and provides a framework for co-operation within the DIPF as well as with partners in universities.