Job description

We are looking for
You are a talented and enthusiastic upcoming researcher with an affinity for designing educational innovations. As a PhD student, you will be the project leader of one of the two subprojects within the NRO-funded project “The role of teacher dashboards in the development of students’ self-regulation skills”. You will do research at the highest scientific level in a nice and open environment. Do you want to contribute to better support for teachers in developing self-regulation skills in their students? Then apply as a PhD student to this project!

Project description
Self-regulation skills are essential for students. Self-regulation is about controlling and monitoring your learning, with metacognitive activities such as orientation, planning and evaluation. Many elementary school students practice math using adaptive learning technologies (ALTs), e.g., on tablets or Chromebooks. On the one hand, ALTs (partially) take over the regulation of the learning process from students, e.g. by adjusting the difficulty of arithmetic assignments to the level of students, thus reducing the opportunity for students to practice regulation skills themselves. On the other hand, adaptive practice can also provide opportunities to actually support students in developing these skills, for example through dashboards.

Teachers play a crucial role in training and developing young learners’ self-regulation skills. However, teachers find it difficult to closely monitor this process. Also, teachers provide strategy instruction and metacognitive feedback only to a very limited extent, even though this contributes to the development of self-regulation skills. Therefore, this project focuses on developing visualizations that give teachers insight into their students’ self-regulation and support them in providing strategy instruction and metacognitive feedback. The visualizations are provided on teacher dashboards, through which teachers can follow the self-regulation of students during learning. Data from ALTs is used for this purpose.

Within this project, Radboud University and Utrecht University will be closely collaborating. Two types of teacher dashboards will be developed: one focused on class level (subproject 1, Utrecht) and one focused on individual student information (subproject 2, Radboud). The goal of the project is to investigate whether the dashboards improve teachers’ instructional and feedback practices and whether this subsequently leads to improved learning outcomes and student self-regulation skills. Each subproject consists of four studies with an explicit focus on the ecological validity of the research: a design study, laboratory study, and two studies conducted in the classroom (short- and long-term).

Both subprojects are applied to math in upper primary education (pupils aged 10-12 years) and make use of the adaptive learning technology Gynzy 

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 ( The two subprojects are strongly linked, with the 3rd and 4th studies of both subprojects being conducted jointly.

The project team consists of dr Inge Molenaar and dr Carolien Knoop-van Campen (RU), and dr Anouschka van Leeuwen, dr Jeroen Janssen, and Prof Liesbeth Kester (UU). In addition, you will work closely with the HHAIR team of two PhD students and postdoc (RU). 

The full project description is available upon request. You can apply for subproject 1 (class level) at Utrecht University (this vacancy). For subproject 2 at Radboud University, a candidate has already been recruited. We offer a PhD programme in which you 10% of your time is allocated for teaching activities. During the course of the doctoral research, you will have the opportunity to obtain an academic teaching certificate (BKO).


  • You hold a Master’s degree/Research Master’s degree in a relevant field, e.g. educational sciences, educational psychology, behavioral sciences, artificial intelligence or other relevant study.
  • You have affinity with and experience in designing and creating educational interventions: this is necessary for designing the personalized dashboards.
  • You have extensive knowledge of self-regulated learning in the context of technology-enhanced learning.
  • You have a basic understanding of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • You have excellent methodological and analytical skills, and experience with collecting and analyzing more complex data.
  • You can adequately design and conduct field studies with teachers and students in schools.
  • You have a good command of the Dutch language or are willing to learn Dutch within a short period of time, and an excellent command of English, both spoken and written. Dutch is necessary for the close contact with the schools that is required for performing the research studies.
  • You have very good writing skills, as demonstrated by a writing sample, e.g. your master thesis or (ideally) an upcoming or already published article.
  • You are proactive, enthusiastic and have good collaboration skills.
  • You are skilled in project management, flexible and proactive in your approach to work, enabling you to complete your dissertation on time.


The vacancy is for 1 FTE for 4 years. The appointment is initially for one year, starting in September 2022, with a possibility of extension after a positive evaluation. The appointment should lead to the completion of a dissertation within four years. The salary ranges full-time from €2,541 to €3,247 gross per month (salary scale P, in accordance with the CAO Dutch Universities).
The salary is supplemented with an annual vacation allowance of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3%. We offer flexible terms of employment and working conditions to support a good work-life balance for our employees. Other secondary conditions include a pension plan and partially paid parental leave. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University 

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About the organisation

A better future for all. This ambition motivates our scientists in their leading research and inspiring education. At Utrecht University 

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, the various disciplines work intensively together on major social themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its centuries-old university. The city of Utrecht is consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the Netherlands. 

The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences 

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 is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic education in the fields of cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social sciences, pedagogical sciences, psychology and sociology. Nearly 6,000 students are enrolled in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. The faculty has approximately 850 employees, all of whom make their individual contributions to the education and training of young talent and to researching and finding solutions to scientific and social issues.

Additional information

For more information about the project and this vacancy, contact dr. Jeroen Janssen 

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Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Please upload your cover letter and a full CV using the ‘apply’ button below.
Dates for the interviews will be determined with the applicants after the closing date of applying.

The application deadline is 15 July 2022.



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