There is a strong recognition that solutions to face complex and intertwined societal and intellectual challenges will have to be worked out collaboratively. However, the mere joining of people’s forces does not help unless people know how to collaborate which includes coping with and overcoming emerging breakdowns as a team. In this sense, the design research project ORBIT aims at implementing and studying a digitally mediated joint problem solving (JPS) activity at an interactive tabletop that gives participants the opportunity to develop their collaboration methods by jointly overcoming breakdowns. The activity will be mediated by a tangible user interface (TUI) which has the potential to promote collaboration among the participants. The ORBIT-team will adopt a design based research (DBR) approach focussing on two different and diverse authentic adult education settings: teacher education at the University of Luxembourg and professional training at the City of Luxembourg. The JPS activity will be designed in five iterations of design, implementation, analysis and redesign, and be put into practice during workshops in each of the two contexts. The design process will rely on user centered design methods (UCD) and on an ethnomethodological conversation analytic framework (EM/CA), combining them in a complementary way. More particularly, the EM/CA video analysis will enable the in-depth study of the development and the enactment of participants’ multimodally embodied collaboration practices when they collaborate “smoothly” and when their collaborative experience is put to the test by emerging and unpredictable breaches generated by the TUI. More precisely, the project addresses the research questions of (1) How to design a TUI-mediated joint problem solving activity providing participants with opportunities to overcome breakdowns through collaboration? and (2) How do the participants cope with and overcome breakdowns in a joint problem solving activity through collaboration? The design based project is located at the interplay between technology and social action. This endeavour requires the collaboration between social scientists from the University of Luxembourg and computer scientists from the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, in this way contributing to developing the multidisciplinary research capacity of Luxembourg and its international visibility. On the one hand, the project will generate scientific knowledge on participants’ collaboration methods, and, on the other hand, it will create a powerful collaborative learning tool that can either directly be implemented in diverse educational and professional training contexts, or be adapted, thanks to the developed guidelines.