Germany currently lacks more than 40.000 trained IT professionals. Beyond that, virtually every modern job requires some understanding of digital tools and methods. These challenges require us to educate more people in computer science. However, computer science is a highly abstract topic, even compared to many other scientific areas. Studies have shown that these concepts are perceived as complex and difficult to learn.

The TABULA project aims to make these concepts more tangible, by creating learning systems with tangible interaction. Tangible interaction can improve users' mental models, cognitive processes, and procedural knowledge. This does not only increase users' ability to learn, but also their motivation to learn difficult concepts. These systems will help users to learn abstract concepts in theoretical computer science. Our sample applications include teaching the concept of flow-based programming.

Some of our tangible learning applications are web-based. The developed applications can be found on


  • Prof. Jan Borchers, Christian Cherek, Simon Voelker (Human-Computer Interaction Center, RWTH Aachen University) - project coordination
  • Prof. Ulrik Schroeder, Svenja Noichl, Matthias Ehlenz (Learning Technologies, RWTH Aachen University)
  • Prof. Martina Ziefle, Wiktoria Wilkowska (Human-Computer Interaction Center, RWTH Aachen University)
  • Patrick Blum, Sylvia Kowalewski, Tobias Schierge (inside GmbH)
  • Ferdinand te Walvaart, Alex Politis, Volker Bombien, Jens Nickel, Luc Lemmens (elektor-Verlag GmbH)



Christian Cherek, Anke Brocker, Simon Voelker, and Jan Borchers. Tangible Awareness: How Tangibles on Tabletops Influence Awareness of Each Other’s Actions. In To appear in Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI '18, New York, NY, USA, 2018. ACM. Homepage PDF Document BibTeX Entry.


We were invited to present TABULA in a radio interview on Deutschlandfunk.


This project runs from 2016 until 2019, and is funded by the German Ministry of Science and Education (BMBF) through its Tangible Learning Initiative.

Contact: Christian Cherek

Internal project pages (registered users only)

Created by borchers. Last Modification: Tuesday 10 of April, 2018 15:44:32 by cherek.

Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen