Prof. Dr. Heinz Neber
I studied psychology at the University of Wuerzburg/Germany, and finished it with the diploma (master) in psychology (1970). Parallel to that, I studies teacher education and the Pedagical College in Wuerzburg (finishing it with a Master in Teacher Education for German primary and high schools in 1970).
From 1970-1971, I worked as a school psychologist (counselling students). From 1971 to 1974, I had the position of a Teaching Assistant at the University of Essen/Germany (in educational psychology).
In 1974, I completed my dissertation on “Theory and methods of investigationg epistemic behaviors of students” (which earned the annual price for excellent study performances at the University of Essen). Until 1977, I was a research assistant at the University of Essen. In 1978, I got a 12 months grant from the German Research Foundation for studies in cognitive psychology, which I spent at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD/USA , and at the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) located at the University of Pittsburgh/USA (the director of that instate has been Professor Robert Glaser).
In 1981, I completed the German requirements for getting a professorship by a “Habilitation” for Instructional Psychology (which included several publications and studies on cognitive processes and structures in discovery learning).
1983/1984, I was a guest professor for developmental and educational psychology at the University of Heidelberg. In 1984, I was appointed as a professor of psychology with special consideration of instructional psychology at the University of Essen. Between 1984 and 1995, I additionally acted as a visiting professor at several German universities (Universities of Bielefeld, Goettingen, Mannheim, and Saarland). In 1998, I was appointed as a professor of educational psychology, and acting director of the International M.A program “Psychology of Excellence in Business and Education” at the University of Munich. After retirement, I am still providing classes in the International Program at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Univerity (Psychology Department). In addition, I am a member of the newly founded Munich Center of the Learning Sciences. At the University of Duisburg/Essen, I am still providing classes for teacher education students (on instruction).
My research studies have been focusing on a spectrum of topics:
One of them has been gifted education. This resulted in various published studies on program evaluations, and teacher identification performances; the editing of a CD about promoting inquiry learning in Chemistry for gifted students (sponsored by BMW), and on several published articles like the role of competitions for gifted students, self-regulated learning, cooperative learning, and epistemological beliefs about what is learning and knowledge.
In instructional psychology, I am continuously investigating themes about instructional approaches that enable the attainment of usable knowledge, and more general competencies (like self-regulation, problem-solving, creativity, and motivational beliefs). From the beginning (first publications already in the 1970s), I concentrated publications and research on issues related to discovery learning, and more recently on the even more complex instructional approach of problem-based learning PBL).
Related to that, I investigated cognitive sub-processes that are a condition for effective discovery- as well as problem-based learning. Several publications resulted on student questioning, self-explanation processes by the students, hypotheses formation in science learning, and intuitive estimation processes in mathematics. A recent topic are cooperative and collaborative processes in such learning environments. Together with a professor for didactics, we are currently applying for a large research project on such topics.
For teacher education, I developed several workshops for preparing teachers for discovery and for problem-based learning. These workshops are about how to design and implement the most important instructional components in such complex approaches to education.
Some publications (selection):
About learning issues:
-Neber, H. (Ed.) (1974). Entdeckendes Lernen (Discovery Learning). Beltz: Weiheim
(meanwhile, three editions of this book on discovery learning have been published; in German).
- Neber, H., Wagner, A. & Einsiedler, W. (Eds.) (1978). Selbstgesteuertes Lernen (Self-
Regulated Learning). Weinheim & Basel: Beltz (first book on self-regulated learning in
Germany) (in German).
- Neber, H. (1982). Selbstgesteuertes Lernen. In B.Treiber & F.E.Weinert (Eds.). Lehr-Lern- Forschung (Research on Teaching and Learning) (p.89-112). Munich: Urban & Schwarzenberg (an up-to-date review of self-regulated learning; in German language).
- Neber, H (1985). Psychologische Untersuchungen zum Lehren und Lernen des Computer-programmierens (Psychological studies on Learning Computer Programming). In H. Mandl & P.M. Fischer (Eds.). Lernen im Dialog mit dem Computer (Learning in dialogue with the Computer) (p.218-228). Munich: Urban & Schwarzenberg (one of first publications and reviews in Germany about the learning of programming languages; in German language)
- Neber, H. (Ed.) (1987). Angewandte Problemlösepsychologie (Applied Problem Solving Psychology). Münster: Aschendorff. (rather complete coverage of contemporary research and development based on problem solving research in the domain of education and instruction; in German language).
- Neber, H. (1992). Wissensnutzung: Förderung durch ein Training des situativen Wissens-zugangs (Knowledge-Utilization: Promotion by Training situative Knowledge-Access). Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 6, 99-114. (one of the first empirical studies on the inert knowledge problem in Germany; in German language).
- Neber, H. (1995). Explanations in problem-oriented cooperative learning. In R. Olechowski & G. Khan-Svik (Eds.), Experimental research on teaching and learning (pp.158-167). Frankfurt/M.: Lang. (first German study on the self-explanation effect)
- Neber, H. (1996), Förderung der Wissensgenerierung in Geschichte: Ein Beitrag zum entdeckenden Lernen durch epistemisches Fragen (Promoting Knowledge-Generation in History: A contribution to Disccovery Learning by Epistemic Questioning). Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 10, 27-38 (the first of a series of empirical studies on student questioning in learning; in German language).
- Neber, H. (2006). Fragenstellen (Posing Questions). In H. Mandl & H. F. Friedrich (Eds.),
Handbuch Lernstrategien (Handbook Learning Strategies) (p. 50-58). Göttingen: Hogrefe (a
review and classification of current research on student questioning; in German language)
- Neber, H. & Heumann-Ruprecht, D. (2006). Entdeckendes Lernen durch Experimentieren im
Chemieunterricht. In I. Hertzszell (Ed.), Vom Nürnberger Trichter zum Laptop (From the
Nurenberg Funnel tot he Laptop) (p. 289-298). Bonn: DPV (one of a series of publication of
learning by discovery in chemistry education; in German language).
- Neber, H., & Anton, M. A. (2008) Promoting pre-experimental activities in high-school chemistry: focusing on the role of students’ epistemic questions. International Journal of Science Education, 30, 1801-1821 (another study on discovery learning in chemistry in an internation journal of science education)
- Neber, H., He, J., Liu, B-X, & Schofield, N. (2008) Chinese high school students in physics classrooms as active self-regulated learners: Cognitive, motivational, and environmental aspects, International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 6, 769-788 (the first study in a series of cross-cultural studies on school based learning).
- Neber, H. (2008). Epistemic questioning: Fostering knowledge-generation by students. Korean Journal of Thinking and Problem Solving, 18, 7-20.
- Arnold, K.H. & Neber, H. (2008). Aktiver Wissenserwerb. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie, 22, 113-118 (special volume of the journal on active knowledge generation).
- Neber, H. (2010). Entdeckendes Lernen (Discovery Learning). In D. H. Rost, Ed., Handwörterbuch Pädagogische Psychologie (Dictionary of Educational Psychology) (p. 124-132). Weinheim: Beltz (complete coverage of discovery learning; in German).
- Neber, H. & Neuhaus, B. (in press). Problem-based learning. In H.E. Vidergor, C. Harris, & T. S. Yamin (Eds.). The practical handbook for teaching gifted and able learners, Paris: International Centre for Innovation in Education (will be published by Springer Science, New York.
Fischer, F. & Neber, H. (2011). Kooperatives und kollaboratives Lernen (Cooperative and collaborative Learning). In Ewald Kiel & Klaus Zierer (Eds.). Basiswissen Unterrichtsgestaltung. Band 2: Unterrichtsgestaltung als Gegenstand der Wissenschaft (state of the art integrated research-based description of cooperative and of technology-based collaborative learning; in German)
In particular related to gifted students:
- Neber, H., Finsterwald, M. & Urban, N. (2001). Cooperative learning with gifted and high-
achieving students: a review and meta-analyses of 12 studies. High Ability Studies, 12, 199-
214 (one of several studies in gifted education).
- Neber, H. & Schommer-Aikins, M. (2002). Self-regulated science learning with highly gifted
students: the role of cognitive, motivational, epistemological, and environmental variables.
High Ability Studies, 13,59-74. (the study was performed at the Hunter College Schools in New York).
- Neber, H. & Reimann, P. (2002). Schulische und familiäre Lernumwelten am acht- vs.
Neunjährigen Gymnasium (Scholl and Family Environments at two different forms of German
High School).. In K. A. Heller (Hrsg.), Begabtenförderung am Gymnasium (Promotion of
Gifted Students at the German Gymnasium) (p. 37-166). Opladen: Leske + Budrich.
- Neber, H. & Heller, K. A. (2002). Evaluation of a summer school program for highly gifted
secondary-school students: the German Pupils Academy. European Journal of Evaluation, 18,
214-228. (this is a large evaluation study on one of the most important institutions for
promoting highly gifted students in Germany)
- Neber, H. (2004). Teacher identification of students for gifted programs: nominations to a
summer school for highly-gifted students. Psychology Science, 46, 348-362.
- Wagner, H. & Neber, H. (2007). Nationale und internationale Leistungswettbewerbe im
Kontext (National and International Competitions in Context). In K. A. Heller & A. Ziegler
(Eds.), Begabt sein in Deutschland (To be Gifted in Germany) (p. 209-232). Münster: Lit
Verlag (about the role of competitions as instruments to promote gifted students; in German).
- Tang, M. & Neber, H. (2008). Motivation and self-regulated science learning in high-achieving
students: differences related to nation, gender and grade-levels. High Ability Studies, 19, 103-