Research Projects

  • Reasons for training drop-outs and effects of an intervention to foster vocational competencies on drop-out rates - An analysis for selected professions in Baden-Württemberg

    The research project is funded by the “Netzwerk Bildungsforschung” of the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung. The study is conducted in cooperation with the University of Stuttgart (Prof. Dr. Reinhold Nickolaus, Didem Atik).

    The project aims to examine reasons for drop-outs in vocational education and training programs. The research is on prospective chefs (University of Mannheim) as well as prospective painters (University of Stuttgart) as both of those professions are faced with particularly high drop-out rates. While previous studies rely on retrospective surveys, a longitudinal design with a total of four measurement points is implemented. Questionnaires as well as competence tests are used in order to measure various traits that might explain training drop-out (e.g. quality of the training program, motivational factors, individual prerequisites and competencies).

  • Workplace learning in dual higher education

    The research project “Workplace learning in dual higher education” is a cooperation project between the University of Applied Labour Studies and the University of Mannheim (Economic and Business Education – Professional Teaching and Learning).

    A major goal of the project is to examine learning potentials and effects of internships embedded in two dual bachelor programs of the University of Applied Labour Studies. Such an analysis is particularly relevant for dual study programs as they include a high share of practical periods.

    To learn more about the effects of the internships embedded in the two Bachelor programs during the duration of the study program, a longitudinal research design is used. At the beginning of each internship, students are asked questions concerning their (learning) goals and expectations regarding the internships, followed by their study interest and professional self-efficacy. To analyze the learning and working tasks during the internships a learning diary is used, in which the students document their work activities and assess items as for example the task’s perceived learning potential. At the end of the internships, students are asked about their competence development and factors as for example the learning and working conditions at the workplace. 

  • Heterogeneity as a Challenge – Theory-Practice-Cooperation for Practical and Evidence-Based Professionalization of Prospective Teachers

    Following a recent reform, the teachers´ training program in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg now includes a course addressing issues of inclusion and diversity in the classroom. The federal state subsequently funds flagship projects that put special emphasis on the reform’s core issues.

    The goal of our project at the University of Mannheim is to prepare prospective teachers for teaching in increasingly heterogeneous classrooms. The ability to consider students’ different talents and conditions is a relevant component of prospective teachers’ professional competence. We want to develop teaching measures to address the challenge of classroom heterogeneity in a practical, problem-oriented, and research-based manner.

    To approach the subject matter, master students of economic and business education visit local vocational schools as part of a service learning seminar. The aim is to observe, document, and examine how heterogeneity in the classroom is dealt with on an everyday basis. These insights are then analyzed systematically in the seminar group sessions and used for the development and evaluation of interventions in schools. The successfully implemented measures will then be made available for teacher training and professional development of (prospective) teachers. This project connects practical and research-based learning with school development and thereby addresses central aspects in the professional development of (prospective) teachers.

  • Can Classroom Experiments Challenge Students' Understanding of Economic Concepts?

    This project addresses the question of how instruction can be designed to help students gain and retain economic understanding of key economic concepts. It further seeks to explore how the use of classroom experiments in economic courses can help bring about change in the economic thinking of students. Undergraduate and secondary school students participated in an economic classroom experiment that aimed at illustrating the concepts of common goods and free trade. The aim of this experiment was to get a better understanding of the economic preconceptions of students and whether they changed through the experiment. The project also provided insight on how students experienced the experiment, what they learned from it and what they were able to transfer onto related economic questions. 

Selected Publications