The research laboratories of the Swiss Distance University Institute
The Swiss Distance University Institute is researching the joint theme of learning and memory. It is using laboratories, among other things, to combine basic research and applied research with innovative methodological and statistical processes.
The laboratories of the Swiss Distance University Institute are located in Naters in the building of the World Nature Forum.
Virtual reality laboratory
When testing using virtual reality, a type of goggles or headset showing a virtual world has to be worn. This makes it looks as though the wearer were directly in this virtual world.
This can be used, for example, to measure natural reactions of people with tasks which cannot be carried out in the real world.
We use this laboratory, for instance, to compare different technologies with regard to cooperation and learning performance.
Eye movement measurement laboratory
Eye movement measurement, also known as eye-tracking, is a technology that is used to see where a person is looking on the screen. With eye-tracking, we can see where a person is looking on the screen during a task and where they are directing their attention. This is helpful, for example, when presenting images or videos.
We use this lab, for instance, to understand the influence of tablets and e-learning tools on cognitive processing.
The brain continuously transmits electrical signals to communicate with the body. These signals can be measured using electroencephalography (EEG; a method for measuring brain activity), whereby a cap is worn to which several electrodes are connected. In this way, it is possible to see which areas of the brain are particularly active in various tasks.
The behaviour laboratories are intended for a all kinds of studies which can only be conducted at a computer or at a table.
For example, we use this laboratory to understand the role of our emotions in diet or the effects of the permanent presence of smartphones on our cognitive capacity.