Dr. Julian Ernst

University of Köln


Learning to Critically Receive Algorithmic Recommendations
Learning Arrangements to Promote the Media Critical Ability of Young People in a Digitising Lifeworld

The lifeworld of young people can recently be understood as digitalised or digitalising: phenomena of digitality such as algorithmically generated recommendations, user comments and being continuously connected on social platforms structure the everyday life of (not only) young people in a sustainable way. At the same time, studies point to this: The ability to be critical of media, including the ability to question the effect of digital media and one’s own use of them, needs to be promoted among many young people. However, there are hardly any approaches for media education arrangements that enable the promotion in media education practice, but also the empirical research of the subject-specific acquisition of media critical faculties. The project addresses this gap and pursues the plan to develop learning arrangements that aim to promote young people’s media literacy skills in relation to digital phenomena. The focus is on algorithmic “recommendations” as an everyday phenomenon in the digitalised lifeworld of young people that has hardly been researched.

Research focus

  • Promotion and assessment of children’s and young people’s media critical faculties
  • Media education, digital media and didactics
  • Teaching and learning in the context of hate and counter-speech, radicalisation and social inequality
  • Educational videography

Curriculum Vitae

  • 2017-2021: Doctoral studies in educational science, funded by the Benedikt and Helene Schmittmann-Wahlen Foundation, among others.
  • Since 2020: Research assistant at the Department of Intercultural Educational Research. University of Cologne.
  • 2018-2019: Visiting researcher at the German Youth Institute (DJI). Halle a.S.
  • 2016-2018: Research assistant in the EU research project “Countering Propaganda by Narration Towards Anti-Radical Awareness” (CONTRA). University of Cologne.
  • 2011-2016: Teacher training in Cologne and Istanbul.


  • Ernst, J. (forthcoming, 2021): Media Criticism between Hate Speech and Counter-Speech. Video-based reconstructions of young people’s media-critical learning on hate comments, propaganda videos and counter-messages in school-based learning arrangements. Series: Digital culture and communication. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.
  • Ernst, J. & Schmitt, J. B. (2020): Civic education in or with digital media? Media pedagogical reflections along structural conditions of the platform YouTube. MedienPädagogik: Zeitschrift für Theorie und Praxis der Medienbildung, 38(Aneignung politischer Information), pp.21-42. https://doi.org/10.21240/mpaed/38/2020.10.02.X
  • Schmitt, J. B., Ernst, J., Rieger, D. & Roth, H.-J. (2020) (eds.): Propaganda and Prevention. Research results, didactic approaches as well as interdisciplinary and international perspectives on pedagogical work on extremist Internet propaganda. Series: Intercultural Studies. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.


  • Ernst, J. (2020): On the didactics of digital moving images. Potentials and challenges for the design of learning situations for young people. Digital lecture at the “Arbeitskreis Weiterbildung” of the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) and the Ministry for Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia. 24.9.2020.
  • Ernst, J. (2019): Media critical learning with and about Hate Speech online. A video-based investigation of social interactions of young people. Paper presented at the Autumn Conference of the Media Education Section (DGfE) on ‘Learning with and about media in a digital world’. Zurich, 27.9.2019.
  • Ernst, J. (2019): What does critical actually mean here? Media critical ability of young people under the magnifying glass. Symposium Youth. Media. Bildung. What has happened in 20 years? of the Protestant Academy Frankfurt. Frankfurt am Main, 15.3.2019.
  • Ernst, J., Schmitt, J. B., Rieger, D. & Roth, H.-J. (2018): Online educational offers on the topic of Islam between pedagogical demands and the internet. Communication and educational analyses of the web video series #whatIS. Presentation at the 18th International Migration Conference on “Migration – Medien – Öffentlichkeit / Migration – Media – The Public”. Cologne, 21.6.2018.

Dr. Julian Ernst

University of Köln

Fellow at CAIS from April until September 2021