Teaching and learning with digital simulations: Optimization and cross-faculty networking

Within the project, previous areas of application as well as success factors for the use of simulations in university teaching at the CAU will be analyzed. Based on this, further areas of application of simulations will be tested.

Project data

Research linesResearch Line Professional Competencies of Preschool and School Teachers
DepartmentsChemistry Education
FundingChristian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (8/1/20217/31/2023)
IPN researchersProf. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ilka Parchmann (Project lead), PD Dr. habil. Sascha Bernholt (Project co-lead), Dr. Lars Ingver Höft

The professional world requires competent action in complex situations: In hospitals, doctors have to work as a team to make diagnoses and derive the necessary treatment steps. In economics, stakeholders at different decision-making levels have to weigh up options for action, for example in environmental policy, against the background of regulatory costs, the state of natural resources, and interest groups. In the classroom, teachers must guide the learning processes of a large number of students while dealing with classroom disruptions.

All of these situations are characterized by the interaction of interdependent variables that must be considered simultaneously, and in which decisions and actions are required. Therefore, they require from the acting person not only a high degree of professional knowledge, but also a high level of diagnostic and action competence in order to choose and implement the best possible course of action under time pressure and uncertainties, if necessary.

While students can acquire declarative professional knowledge well in traditional lecture and seminar structures, the promotion of diagnostic and action competence is only possible to a limited extent, since this requires the provision of valid and targeted practice in real situations. For example, the repeated and error-tolerant treatment of a patient with certain symptoms, the consultation of stakeholders in real decision-making processes, or acting in the classroom with specific and controllable classroom disruptions is not possible in real situations. 

Simulations can provide a remedy here. They allow valid practice situations to be depicted and individual factors to be manipulated in such a way that students' diagnostic and action skills can be specifically and effectively promoted. However, simulations are currently only used sporadically or unsystematically in university teaching. This is the starting point of the project LeSIM@CAU, which analyzes current areas of application and success factors for the use of simulations in university teaching at the CAU. Based on this, further areas of application of simulations are to be tested in order to firmly anchor them in teaching in the future, e.g. to specifically train student teachers in their diagnostic and action competence and to prepare them well for their traineeship.


  • CAADP Policy Lab (Agricultural Economics)
  • Crisis Resource Management Training (Human Medicine)
  • The Virtual Classroom (Teaching and Teacher Education/Chemistry Education)
  • Fishery economics (Resource Management)

Project team:

  • PD Dr. Sascha Bernholt (IPN, Chemistry Education)
  • Dr. Kristina Fraune (CAU, Continuing Professional Development)
  • Prof. Dr. Christian Henning (CAU, Agricultural Policy)
  • Dr. Lars Höft (IPN, Chemistry Education)
  • Prof. Dr. Thilo Kleickmann (CAU, Teaching and Teacher Education)
  • Prof. Dr. Ilka Parchmann (IPN, Chemistry Education)
  • Prof. Dr. Marie-Catherine Riekhof (CAU, Political Economy of Resource Management)
  • PD Dr. Dirk Schädler (UKSH, Anesthesiology and Surgical Intensive Care Medicine)
  • Prof. Dr. Norbert Weiler (UKSH, Anesthesiology and Surgical Intensive Care Medicine)


  • Huang, Y., Richter, E., Kleickmann, T., Wiepke, A., & Richter, D. (2021). Classroom complexity affects student teachers’ behavior in a VR classroom. Computers & Education, 163(2), 104100. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2020.104100
  • Schädler, D., Heinrichs, W., Mönk, S., Elke, G., Zick, G. & Scholz, J. (2008). Simulatortraining an der Kieler Universitätsklinik für Anästhesiologie - Szenarien und Trainingsergebnisse. AINS - Anästhesiologie · Intensivmedizin · Notfallmedizin · Schmerztherapie, 43(6), 474–477. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2008-1081395