Interaction Systems


The current focus in Interaction Systems is on mobile and Web platforms where usability and adoption matter, with application to digital education, knowledge management, as well as digital humanitarian technology. The underlying academic domains are Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Engineering Education Research, and Technology Enhanced Learning (e-Learning). The React Group is affiliated with the EPFL Center for Learning Science (LEARN).

Challenge: How to enhance interaction and learning opportunities, as well as support agile and opportunistic personal and collaborative activities (on the Web or in the field).

: Facilitate access to and interaction with online resources, devices, services and people (peers) in context.

Ongoing Projects

DIARY: Digital Affordance for Reporting Abuses and Enabling Protection among Vulnerable Populations Living in a Vicinity (EPFLinnovators)

Denis Gillet, Isabelle Vonèche Cardia, Maria Gaci

Keywords: Humanitarian Technology, Social Entrepreneurship, Under-connected Areas, ICT for Development

Recent investigations have demonstrated the benefits of co-located social media as digital affordance to facilitate education and community building in refugee camps. They have also triggered interest in NGOs looking for digital solutions to reduce sexual abuses among people living in a vicinity by encouraging victims to report them and seek protection. This research project aims at defining, designing, and validating digital affordance for reporting abuses and enabling protection among vulnerable populations for illiterate users. This project is carried out in collaboration with the SpeakUp spin-off association.

MOOLs: Massive Open Online Laboratories

Denis Gillet, Christophe Salzmann

Keywords: Remote Labs, Cyber Physical Systems, ICT for Development, SDGs

This project supports countries in the Global South to implement digital solutions for higher education integrating (in a common engineering MOOC) remotely accessible laboratory equipment and learning analytics dashboards (as rich, pedagogical structured, open educational resources). It is co-financed by the swissuniversities Development and Cooperation Network (SUDAC) oriented towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN and carried out in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences in Wallis (Prof. Fariba Moghaddam).

Go-Ga: Go-Lab Goes Africa

Denis Gillet, Juan Carlos Farah

Keywords: Inquiry Learning, Online Labs, Learning Analytics, Open Educational Resources, Digital Education

Deploying contextually engaging digital science, technology, engineering and mathematics educative content in Africa by adapting the proven Go-Lab ecosystem to local needs. The open access Go-Lab ecosystem includes a sharing platform , as well as an authoring and learning platform. Partners in Africa are CcHUB in Nigeria, EtriLabs in Benin, and eLimu in Kenya. Read more.

Next Generation Stakeholders and Next Level Ecosystem for ColLaborative Science Education with Online Labs (Next-Lab)

Denis Gillet, , André Nogueira, Juan Carlos Farah, Maria Jesus (Chus) Rodriguez Triana, Mélissa Riesner, Alex Wild, Andrii Vozniuk, ​​​​​​​Adrian Holzer

Keywords: Learning Environments, Social Media, Learning Analytics, Human Computer Interaction, Online laboratories, Collaborative Learning, Inquiry Learning, Recommender Systems, Peer Assessment, 21st Century Skills

Next-Lab intends to change the educational landscape of science and technology education in Europe on a very large scale. The project offers a unique and extensive collection of interactive online (virtual and remote) laboratories that, through a process of mixing and re-use, can be straightforwardly and efficiently combined with dedicated support tools (learning apps) and multimedia material to truly form open, cloud-based, shareable educational resources with an embedded pedagogical structure. Next-Lab offers extensive opportunities for localisation and personalisation together with analytics facilities monitoring students’ progress and achievements. Next-Lab is designed to rely on full co-creation with users in combination with rapid development and testing cycles. Next-Lab builds on the highly successful (FP7) Go-Lab project that already offers online labs, inquiry learning apps, and authoring facilities for inquiry learning. To amplify the existing impact to the next-level innovation stage, Next-Lab extends the Go-Lab system with tools for the learning of 21st century skills, facilities for self- and peer-assessment and portfolio development, as well as opportunities to include learning by modeling. Next-Lab will cover secondary and also primary education, to ensure an early positive attitude towards science and technology and the continuous availability of innovative learning material throughout students’ school career. To guarantee long-term impact, Next-Lab also addresses the teachers of the future by its presence in pre-service teacher training programs throughout Europe. To evaluate its impact, Next-Lab combines usage data analysis techniques for very large-scale pilots with in-depth, qualitative, case-based, assessments. Next-Lab prepares for a following sustainable stage of the product. As it builds upon and extends existing networks of teachers, professional associations, and policymakers, the impact of Next-Lab will be massive.

Past Projects

Agile Social Media Platform for Humanitarian Action and Capacity Building

Denis GilletAdrian Holzer, Alex Wild, Andrii Vozniuk

Keywords: Knowledge management, Non-governmental organizations, Ad hoc social media platforms, Capacity building, Humanitarian action

React is carrying out joint research and deployment acticvities with humanitarian organisations (MSF, Handicap International, …) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to devise the next generation social media platforms and mobile applications for field operations and capacity building in developing countries (P166 Course).

Global Online Science Labs for Inquiry Learning at School (Go-Lab)

Denis Gillet, Christophe Salzmann, Adrian Holzer, Sten Govaerts, Maria Jesus Rodriguez Triana, Alex Wild, Andrii Vozniuk, Wissam Halimi, Li Na, Evgeny Bogdanov

Keywords: Personal Learning Environments, Social Media, Web Apps, Human Computer Interaction, Online laboratories, Inquiry Learning, Cognitive Scaffolds, Communities of Practice

The Go-Lab Project opens up remote science laboratories and their online models (online labs) for the large-scale use in education. Its technical framework – the Go-Lab Portal – offers students the opportunity to perform personalized scientific experiments with online labs, whereas teachers may enrich their classroom activities with demonstrations and disseminate best practices in a web-based pedagogic community. At the same time, owners of the labs may promote their scientific activities providing open interfacing solutions to easily plug-in their online labs and sharing them in the online labs federation.

Agile Social Media Platform

Denis GilletAdrian Holzer, Alex Wild, Andrii Vozniuk

Keywords: Knowledge management, Non-governmental organizations, Ad hoc Social Media Platforms

This project aims at developing an innovative social media platform for agile content management and flat community support for NGOs operating both in the cloud and in the field.

Responsive Open Learning Environments (ROLE)

Denis Gillet, Sandy El Helou, Evgeny Bogdanov, Na Li, Freddy Limpens, Maryam Najafian, Stéphane Sire

Keywords: Personal Learning Environments, Social Software, Web 2.0 Service Mashup, Human Computer Interaction

ROLE’s cross-disciplinary innovations will deliver and test prototypes of highly responsive Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) environments, offering breakthrough levels of effectiveness, flexibility, user-control and mass-individualisation. Our work also advances the state-of-the-art in human resource management; self-regulated and social learning; psycho-pedagogical theories of adaptive education and educational psychology; service composition and orchestration; and the use of ICT in lifelong learning. Significant benefits arise for learners, their communities, employers, TEL developers and society. ROLE offers adaptivity and personalization in terms of (1) content and navigation and (2) the entire learning environment and its functionalities. This empowers each user to generate new tools and functions according to their needs, and can help them to establish a livelier and personally more meaningful learning context and learning experience.

The STELLAR Network of Excellence

Denis Gillet, Sandy El Helou, Laleh Makarem

Keywords: Technology Enhanced learning, Engineering Education Research

STELLAR represents the effort of the leading institutions and projects in European Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) to unify our diverse community. This Network of Excellence is motivated by the need for European research on TEL to build upon, synergize and extend the valuable work we have started by significantly building capacity in TEL research within Europe, which is required to allow the European Union to achieve its goals via the Bologna Agreement and the execution of the Lisbon Agenda. STELLAR will move beyond the earlier networks by setting a new and critical foresight agenda for Technology Enhanced Learning. The Network will be executed via a series of integration instruments designed to increase the research capacity of European TEL at all levels. STELLAR’s instruments will act upon the backbone of an interlocking set of 3 Grand Research Challenge actions, themed as Connecting People, Orchestration and Context.

e-Infrastructure (CRUSSWITCH)

Denis Gillet, Adrian Holzer, Yao Lu

Keywords: Personal Learning Environments, Federated Recommender Systems, Social Media, Cloud Aggegation

This project deals with the extensions of the Swiss e-Infrastructure for self-organized and competence-oriented learning environments. In view of the vast amount of contents, data resources and tools, learning becomes increasingly complex. Students are expected to get orientation on their own, and to determine and elaborate adequate, individual learning methods. In this framework, the Graasp social media platform for collaborative learning and knowledge management is extended with learning analytics, social media channel and cloud resource aggregation features. The challenge of managing multiple digital identities is also takled.

MOOLs: Maghrebi Open Online Labs (CODEV)

Denis Gillet

Keywords: Online Labs, Social Media, Web Apps, Green Energy

This project aims at developing and disseminating Massive Open Online Labs (MOOLs) methodologies and infrastructures in cooperation with Tunisia and Morocco, with a special focus on providing remote labs related to the production of green energy. Web apps enabling the access to such remote labs from social media platforms and MOOC platforms for secodary schools and academic institutions are developed.


Denis Gillet, Sandy El Helou, Li Na, Zhou Lei, Christophe Salzmann

Keywords: Personal Learning Environments, Recommender Systems, Social Media, Human Computer Interaction

This project carried out jointly with the Universities of Geneva and Fribourg aims at promoting the adoption and assessing the benefits of Personal learning Environments in higher education institutions to support formal, informal and self-directed learning. It also aims at promoting open sharing practices among teachers by enabling federated search and recommendation between institutional repositories and learning management systems.

Jumpers (a CTI project with Jobzippers)

Denis Gillet, Sandy El Helou, Yao Lu, Christophe Salzmann

Keywords: Recommender Systems, Social Media, Human Computer Interaction

This project aims at designing, validating and implementing a user-driven multi-relational and personalized recommender system for JobZippers, the European career center network. The customers targeted by this system are university graduates and employers. The main commercial innovation lies in intelligent recommendation relying on contacts established by students and graduates during the course of their studies with professionals, professors, mentors and peers with similar profile and professional interests. The main scientific innovation lies in advanced multi-relational and contextual recommendation algorithms.

6th sense

Denis Gillet, Christophe Salzmann, Damien Perritaz

Keywords: Quality of Perception; Wearable Systems; Augmented reality; Adaptation

The 6th sense project aims at investigating advanced context-aware and adaptive end-to-end technologies to develop next-generation wearable supervision systems for industrial plant operators. It is carried out in collaboration with the University of Fribourg and the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland. The 6th sense project is supported by the Hasler Foundation in the context of its man-machine interaction research program.


Denis Gillet, Sandy El Helou, Evgeny Bogdanov, Stéphane Sire

Keywords: Enhanced Learning; Communities of Practice

Palette is an ‘Integrated Project’ financed by the IST (Information Society Technology) programme of the European commission dealing with knowledge sharing and appropriation within communities of practice.

Collaborative learning has an increased potential when it occurs in the context of a Community of Practice (CoP). Such communities have several components that distinguish them from formal organisations and learning contexts: it is recognised that they can be developed through the uses of network technologies. However, despite the rapidly increasing potential of these technologies (including web-based platforms, wireless communications, mobile devices and extensive use of multimedia contents), a lot of progress remains to be done in order to support individual learning process, as well as knowledge and identity building in them. The goal of Palette is to elaborate, implement and promote the use of an extensible set of interoperable services that appropriately address the needs of these communities.


Denis Gillet, Yassin Rekik

Keywords: Enhanced Learning; Interaction; Internet

PROLEARN is a ‘Network of Excellence’ financed by the IST (Information Society Technology) programme of the European commission dealing with technology enhanced professional learning. The ProLEARN mission is to bring together the most important research groups in the area of professional learning and training, as well as other key organisations and industrial partners, thus bridging the currently existing gap between research and education at universities and similar organisations and training and continuous education that is provided for and within companies.

Real-time Interaction over the Internet

Christophe Salzmann, Denis Gillet

Keywords: Interaction; network; adaptation; end-to-end; remote experimentation; Internet

Real-time Interaction over the Internet enables users to efficiently interact with physical equipment at a distance. An efficient interaction provides the remote user with the best possible feedback such that the drawbacks inherent to the distance are minimized and with sufficient information to reproduce the state of the distant equipment and its operational conditions.


Denis Gillet, Christophe Salzmann, Yassin Rekik, Anh Vu Nguyen Ngoc, Karim Zeramdini, Frederic Geoffroy, Gamaliel Amaudruz

Keywords: Interaction; network; adaptation; end-to-end; remote experimentation; Internet

The eMersion project aims at promoting a pedagogical trial-and-error paradigm. It relies on new opportunities for engineering trainees to carry out extensive experimentation in their education curriculum based on a Web environment for remote experimentation.