“Cyber ​​Valley” develops software for attention training

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Can artificial intelligence support students in a very practical way to concentrate better while studying? Experts from various disciplines are working on this in the “Cyber ​​Valley” research network in Stuttgart and Tübingen.

Maria Wirzberger from the University of Stuttgart is part of the network that celebrated its fifth birthday a few days ago and is currently working on the further development of software that is designed as attention training. According to Wirzberger, the aim of the system is to support people in such a way that they can work on certain tasks with a focus on a self-defined goal. It can also be used, for example, if someone is planning to write a text and wants to write on it for 30 minutes, for example. “If someone is then distracted from this task, the system gives feedback on how valuable it would be to return to the actual task,” says Wirzberger.

According to Wirzberger, the software uses information about which activities are planned on the computer so that it can predict when the attention will decrease. “The more the skill is built up to concentrate on a task, the more the software should reduce its support in the future. Like a framework that is gradually being dismantled.”

Findings from psychology, didactics and software development were incorporated into the development of the software. The professor is currently researching the further development of the software, which should make it more adaptable. “Because we want to design the system in such a way that the technology is not something that the learners depend on in order to be able to work in the first place.” Rather, the focus is on acquiring skills: learning for yourself, being able to concentrate, and then staying focused even without the help of technology. It is therefore important that the support provided by the system is gradually withdrawn.

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