The effectiveness of digital learning paths in remote sensing – An empirical study of secondary school students´ learning based on motivation and self-concept

Dr. Raimund Ditter
First advisor:  Prof. Dr. Alexander Siegmund
Second advisor:  Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Hupke

The dissertation has been published here.


In the age of „Google Earth“, today almost everyone can have a fascinating look at planet Earth from above. The active engagement with satellite images in school lessons is an inspiring opportunity to investigate a wide variety of geographic questions. The central goal of this study is to differentiatedly investigate the frequently mentioned educational potential of handling the geomedium “satellite image”. Within the treatment, study participants were asked to work independently on an educationally relevant question using the web-based remote sensing software BLIF based on LANDSAT data. Partly, the analysis of the satellite images was continued in the conventional geography lessons in school. The accompanying scientific study has been devised as a questionnaire-based study with repeated measurements. Its primary intention is centered on testing short-term and medium-term effects of the intense interaction with digital satellite images. 322 students (aged 12 to 17) participated in the treatment. In order to be able to make statements about the didactical added value of the use of satellite images within the treatment, students’ learning motivation and academic self-concept as central predictors of this investigation were measured. Additionally their self-efficacy regarding computers and satellite images were measured. The measurements were done repeatedly and changes during the study period were examined. The results show that an activity-oriented approach of dealing with satellite images can definitely be evaluated as increasing motivation and enhancing learning. This is true both for Realschule[1] and  Gymnasium[2] students. The survey also attests that, next to distinct gender-effects, a highly significant increase of the self-determination index (SDI) could be observed during the treatment. On the basis of the increased SDI as a predictor for the quality of educational processes, a positive outlook for the students’ learning achievements can be predicted. A methodical validation can be given via cluster analysis of change- and user types with regards to self-efficacy and the motivational structure. The results of this study confirm that educative learning processes can be initiated by an active exposure to satellite image data. These then are largely regulated by the self-motivated “drive” of the students themselves.

Project term: 2009-2013

[1] a type of secondary school, classes 5-10, considered the “mid stream” in the traditional three-stream system

[2] a type of secondary school, classes 5-12, considered the “high stream” in the traditional three-stream system


Choose your language: deutschenglish
Contact | Directions | Networks | News | Imprint