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Bergen Cognition and Learning Group

Selected projects

The members of BCLG are invoved in several research projects with both national and international collaboration.

Education, work and skills among prisoners in 2015

A new survey study was conducted in 2015, to maintain the knowledge base that can inform both policy and practice, and help prioritize resourcing for prisoner education and training, research was carried out to determine the educational needs of the Norwegian prison population.

Accordingly, the research examined prisoners’ educational background and employment experience, educational participation, educational preferences and motives, and educational challenges. An identical survey was carried out among prisoners in Norway from Albania, Lithuania and Poland. A series of reports and articles from the project has been published or are in press.

The study was initiated and funded by the County Governor of Hordaland, the Department of Education, which is the organization is in charge of Norwegian prison education, serving the Ministry of Education.

Implicit Language Learning

Several theories have been presented on how language is acquired. In this project we explore implidcit or statistical learning processes as a model for identifying and learning of words, word boundaries, and grammar when approaching a foreign language. The implicatons of a learning model for language acquisition is crucial for the understanding of language impairments, and also for development of effective language therapies. 

The project is conducted in collaboration with Drs. Elena Plante and Rebecca Gomez at the University of Arizona.

Education, work and skills among prisoners in 2012

In order to establish a sound knowledge base that can inform both policy and practice, and help prioritize resourcing for prisoner education and training, research was carried out to determine the educational needs of the Norwegian prison population. Accordingly, the research examined prisoners’ educational background and employment experience, educational participation, educational preferences and motives, and educational challenges. Likewise, an identical survey was carried out among all prisoners in Norway from Lithuania, Poland and Nigeria. A series of reports and articles from the project has been published or are in press. The study was initiated and funded by the County Governor of Hordaland, the Department of Education, which is the organization is in charge of Norwegian prison education, serving the Ministry of Education.

Executive functions in second language learning

A new project has been initiated with focus on the role of executive functions in bilingualism and second language learning. Principal investigator is Professor Arve Asbjørnsen, and the project will be conducted in close collaboration with Associate Professor Janne Torkildsen, UoB, Dr. Kristine Jensen de Lopez, University of Århus, Professor Jane Baker, University of Amsterdam, and Dr. Sharon Armon-Lotem, Bar Ilan University. The project is embedded in the COST IS0804 initiative on bilingualism and SLI, and is supported from L. Meltzer Høyskolefond.

Ethnic minority prisoners in Nordic prisons

The current study is a follow-up to the previous quantitative studies in the Nordic prisons. This time researchers in the Nordic countries have cooperated in investigating the educational background, preferences and educational requirements of some of the selected groups of ethnic minority prisoners. Many ethnic minority prisoners have educational deficiencies for a wide variety of reasons. The study, which is based on qualitative method and carried out using structured and semi-structured interviews, was coordinated by the research group Knowledge, Education and Democracy in cooperation with BCLG. Cirius Nordplus Adult programme provided financial support for implementing the project. A report is both published in Nordic languages and in English.

Auditory attention and inner ear functions

In this project we study the relationship between suppression of otoacoustic emissions as a measure of efferent control with inner ear functions, and auditory attention. The principle investigator is Dr. Arve Asbjørnsen, and the project is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Barbara Cone and Dr. Elena Plante from the University of Arizonba, and Dr. Ola Lind, Haukeland University Hospital.

Education and eductional requests among prison inmates

The group has conducted two national surveys among the prison inmates in Norway, in 2004 and 2006. The main finding is that the education level among the inmates are approximately one generation behind the educatinaal level of the general population. One of the omplications of the research is that educational fascilities have been established in all correctional fascilities in Norway. A series of reports from the project have been published (in Norwegian) by the County Governor of Hordaland who is carrying the responsibility for correctional education in Norway

Reading skills and mental health among prison inmates in Norway

The Norwegian Government issued a white paper in correctional education in 2004-2005 (Stortingsmelding nr 27, 2004-2005. En ny vår...). This project addresses some of the challenges that are presented in the white paper: The level of reading, writing and matehmatics skills among the prison inmates, and how these basic skills are related to preferences for education and confidence in coping with the demands of education while serving time in prison. The data collection was conducted during the fall of 2007, involving 600 inmates in Norwegian prisons.

Motivation, learning strategies, course experience and achievement

The project comprise research on

  • motivation for learning (interest, achievement motivation, goal orientation)
  • relatively stable individual differences in motivation (motive for success – Ms, motive to avoid failure – Maf)
  • learning strategies (students’ approaches to learning – SAL, self-regulated learning strategies – SRL)
  • course experience (teaching quality, workload, assessment)
  • academic achievement

Central issues are as follows:

  • How are motivation and learning strategies related to course experience?
  • How may course experience, motivation and learning strategies affect academic achievement?

The samples so far have included university students and prison inmates under education.

Education in Nordic prisons

In 2006 and 2007 the prison population’s educational background and preferences were mapped through comprehensive questionnaires in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Researchers from all Nordic countries carried out national studies and the BCLG coordinated the project and the final Nordic joint report, which was published in Nordic languages and in English. The studies were initiated by the Nordic network of prison education and funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, Cirius Nordplus Voksen and national ministries in the Nordic countries.