This research and development project aimed at developing, testing and evaluating the web-based search engine KANSAS. KANSAS will support teachers in adult literacy and German as a second language in preparing classes. Using the search engine, teachers will be enabled to determine both the topic and the linguistic complexity of texts to be searched on the internet and in electronic corpora. Taking into account the learners interests as well as their individual level of reading competence, KANSAS allows teachers to perfectly adjust the query to the needs of their course participants. Moreover, teachers can upload self-developed texts in order to analyze the language complexity. In addition to that, a simplified version of KANSAS will be developed, enabling advanced learners to search for texts with an appropriate level of language complexity on their own.
The interdisciplinary project KANSAS was conducted by the three collaboration partners under direction of the German Institute for Adult Education – Leibniz Centre for Lifelong Learning. The German Institute of Adult Education (DIE) carried out several usability and quasi-experimental studies to evaluate the efficacy of the search engine. The MI examined the didactic suitability of the texts searched by KANSAS. Computational linguists of the University of Tübingen technically implemented the search engine and adapted it to the users’ needs. In close collaboration of all partners involved, several developmental versions of the search engine were released during the project term in order to test and optimize KANSAS.