February 26 – March 1 , 2017, Dagstuhl Seminar 17092

Search as Learning


Kevyn Collins-Thompson (University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, US)
Preben Hansen (Stockholm University, SE)
Claudia Hauff (TU Delft, NL)
Claus-Peter Klas (GESIS – Köln, DE)

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List of Participants
Shared Documents
Dagstuhl Seminar Schedule [pdf]


Search engines have come a long way in the past few decades, enabling simple keyword search queries to be answered efficiently and with high quality. This efficiency, however, also means that we largely view search systems as tools to satisfy immediate information needs, instead of rich environments in which humans heavily interact with information content, and where search engines act as intelligent dialogue systems, facilitating the communication between users and content and foster knowledge acquisition.

Users today are relying on search systems to explore, learn and reason about content. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of studying and designing search systems to foster discovery and enhance the learning experience outside of formal educational settings.

In this Dagstuhl Seminar, we bring together researchers from the fields of psychology, information retrieval, human computer interaction, library and information science and the learning sciences to discuss the following challenges & opportunities for search systems in providing support for learning:

  • Understanding search as a human learning process: when and how does learning occur in the search process?
  • How can learning performance and learning outcomes be measured during search? What kinds of features derived from the search process can act as implicit or explicit indicators of learning?
  • What is the relationship between the learning process in general and the context (educational, work-related, etc.) of learning, and thus the context in which searching occurs?
  • How does collaboration in the search process influence learning outcomes?
  • What types of functionality and interventions in search system interfaces and algorithms most help to foster learning?
  • How does learning whilst searching manifest itself for different populations such as children, low-literacy learners and non-experts?

The seminar’s goals are threefold:

  • To foster cross-discipline ‘search as learning’ collaborations between researchers with very different perspectives and research backgrounds.
  • To combine and analyze existing theoretical and empirical contributions in different fields (to date, largely viewed in isolation) in order to determine gaps, potential insights across fields, shared issues, and novel research questions.
  • To explore the creation of a shared dataset dedicated towards the ‘search as learning’ topic, thus enabling the wider research community outside this seminar to directly benefit from our progress.

  Creative Commons BY 3.0 DE
  Kevyn Collins-Thompson and Preben Hansen and Claudia Hauff and Claus-Peter Klas


  • Data Bases / Information Retrieval
  • Society / Human-computer Interaction


  • Explorative search
  • Human factors
  • Search system design
  • Learning

Book exhibition

Books from the participants of the current Seminar 

Book exhibition in the library, ground floor, during the seminar week.


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


Download overview leaflet (PDF).


Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.

Dagstuhl's Impact

Please inform us when a publication was published as a result from your seminar. These publications are listed in the category Dagstuhl's Impact and are presented on a special shelf on the ground floor of the library.