Department Competencies, Personality, Learning Environments

The research work of the LIfBi department "Competencies, Personality, Learning Environments" is characterized by the primarily psychological and pedagogical perspective from which education-related topics are viewed. This enables an individual view of educational processes, focusing on the experience and behaviour of individuals in different learning and educational contexts. This includes, for example, learning within the family or in different educational institutions and learning environments.


The structure of the department is based on the central content perspectives of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), which is located at the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories, and is divided into the following four working units:


In the working unit "Early Education", the important educational transitions, i.e. the transitions to kindergarten, primary school and secondary school, are examined in more detail. This area also includes the work units NEPS Starting Cohort 1 and NEPS Starting Cohort 2 as well as the office of the Leibniz Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education.


The focus of the working unit "Competencies" is on the development of test instruments for measuring competencies in the life course and answering diagnostic research questions. The aim here is to record and analyse the competences that are important for education and the course of educational acquisition in different phases of life. This is where the NEPS Competencies Unit comes in.


In the working unit "Learning Environments and School Education", learning opportunities are researched over the entire life course. These opportunities are relevant in the course of education because learners can use them to acquire skills and competences. The NEPS Learning Environments work unit and the NEPS Starting Cohort 3 and NEPS Starting Cohort 4 are found in this working unit.


The influence of motivation, interests and personality on educational trajectories and educational decisions is investigated in the "Personality" working unit. In addition, LIfBi's work on national education reporting, the National Report on Education, is bundled here.


In addition to the four work areas, the Junior Research Group 1 headed by Dr. Ilka Wolter was assigned to the department from 2016 to 2020. This group was dedicated to the study of gender-specific competency trajectories and psychological mechanisms to explain gender differences in competencies relevant to education.


Ongoing projects at departmental level:

Corona and self-regulated learning
Data Literacy
Digital Formative Assessment (DiFA)
MultiTex Transfer


Ongoing projects in the working units:



Completed projects in the working units:

ECE India


Prof. Dr.  Ilka  Wolter

+49 951 863-3424