Maria Wirzberger
PostDoc, Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme
I am an interdisciplinary scientist at the intersection of psychology, education, and computer science with particular focus on developing intelligent educational technologies – currently on my way to becoming a professor. Human learning has always been a topic of interest to me, in particular related to the question how we can optimally support it by appropriate teaching methods and learning materials. Starting my academic career in the field of inclusive education, I acquired knowledge on cognitive impairments and didactic approaches to facilitate learning under these circumstances. What exactly happens in the learner's head still remained an open question, which eventually led to my studies in psychology after I completed my diploma and worked in pre-primary education for a while. Given this background, it's not surprising that particularly topics emerging from cognitive and biological psychology sparked my interest during my bachelor's course. With my bachelor thesis, I already entered the field of educational technologies and extended my profile with competencies in computer science by programming my first experiment. By that time, the direction of supporting learning with intelligent technology had already become evident. Looking for a suitable master's course to acquire further relevant skills in this domain, I luckily found an interdisciplinary program in human factors, which allowed me to broaden my knowledge base even more towards the technical sector. The field that fascinated me most during that time and finally gave me the opportunity to look inside the learner's head (without cutting people open) was cognitive modeling. Deconstructing and formalizing cognitive steps that will eventually lead to completing a certain task in a model and comparing the derived predictions with human data is still a core part of my research agenda. I continued my professional journey with a PhD in psychology and explored particularly the fact that acquiring new knowledge is a demanding procedure and costs the learner time and effort to master it. Again, I worked at the intersection between human and technology and could even get my finger tips on machine learning and software development by closely collaborating with colleagues from computer science. The amazing experiences and fascinating insights during that time made me curious to dive deeper into these areas and explore the field of artificial intelligence, which I can do in my current position.

In a video conferencing call...

...I am happy to talk about my research.

...I can show live experiments or equipment, e.g. z.B. computerbasierte psychologische Lern- und Testaufgaben und Trainingsanwendungen (u.a. Aufmerksamkeit, Arbeitsgedächtnis)

...I am happy to answer questions about university and career-related questions.

...I am happy to moderate a discussion.

...I am happy to speak to others (e.g. to journalists, museums).

Related School Subjects
Biologie, Informatik, Psychologie, Interdisziplinär
Digitale Lernmedien; Lehren und Lernen; Ablenkung und Aufgabenwechsel; Kognitive Prozesse; Umweltbildung
English, German