October 30, 2019
It’s rare to see so much change. The key phenomena behind the technological leaps being seen today are digitization, automation, and artificial intelligence. These go hand in hand with new, agile, and mobile forms of work. In companies, this often leads to conflicts with older employees, who may find it difficult to make changes and have a fear of the transition. As an organizational psychologist, Professor Christian Stamov Roßnagel works on managing demographic change and transformation. As he puts it: “We certainly have our work cut out.”
The objective is to foster the learning capabilities of employees, so that they can gain skills. The 52-year-old is putting his latest scientific findings into practice. His clients include world-leading car manufacturers. “It’s all about empowering learners to take charge and control of their own learning,” says Roßnagel. All too often, companies fail to take individual differences in learning fitness into account, and pursue conventional training methods.
Learning fitness can be boosted by an appropriate learning design. Instead of the standard learning goals, which are often somewhat vague, Roßnagel’s approach defines quantifiable results, which also determine the teaching and learning activities. At the end, accurate feedback is provided in the form of an assessment, from which the instructors and learners alike can determine whether the previously defined outcomes have been achieved. Stamov Roßnagel’s projects show that this can significantly increase learning efficiency.
Roßnagel conducts operational training sessions himself and provides further instruction to company trainers. He is also carrying out research into how artificial intelligence can be used to make learning easier, especially when it comes to making such tasks straightforward for older employees. As such, he is working together with the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and the companies Airbus, Festo, and Lufthansa, under the leadership of the Demographie-Netzwerk ddn e.V., to develop software that enables learning opportunities to be ideally tailored to the learner and his or her individual strengths.
Just as he is looking to strengthen the self-management of company employees, Roßnagel also wants to stimulate his students’ curiosity and their eagerness to conduct research. They should be able to solve problems themselves, make decisions, and develop new approaches – all skills that will be needed later in their careers, regardless of the industry or sector. “It works best if you get students involved in research from the very first semester,” says Roßnagel. And support for self-reliance goes even further than that: not only can students get involved in the projects being conducted by their academic supervisors, but they can also develop their own research in consultation with them. “That,” says Roßnagel, “is what really makes Jacobs University special.”
This text is part of the series "Faces of Jacobs", in which Jacobs University introduces students, alumni, professors and staff. Further episodes can be found at www.jacobs-university.de/faces