Experimental work in the virtual teaching-learning laboratory

Implementing an automated feedback culture in the context of self-efficacy and flow experience using a design-based research approach


Vanessa Schmidt, M. Ed.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Alexander Siegmund


Experimental work is a central component of natural and earth science education. The regular use of experimental methods promotes scientific thinking and working, in a way that learners are supported in gaining new knowledge and in relating it to existing knowledge (SCHÄFERS et al. 2020). Thus, analog experiments present a high learning value, also for geography lessons. However, they are rarely used to an extent that corresponds to the students’ interest and the potential positive learning effects. This oversight is primarily due to time, cost or safety reasons (Hemmer & Hemmer 2010). 
As part of the project "Climate Education 4.0", the already existing "Geco-Lab - Competence Center for Geo-ecological Spatial Exploration" of the Department of Geography - Research Group for Earth Observation (rgeo) at the Heidelberg University of Education will be extended as a virtual teaching-learning laboratory. The virtual teaching-learning laboratory is intended to enable work and experimentation in a digital Geco-Lab. At the same time, the gained knowledge will become transferable to the learners' direct surroundings. In terms of content, the focus is on the regional effects of anthropogenic climate change, such as soil erosion due to increased heavy rainfall events or more regular heat stress in forest.  
To make the virtual teaching-learning environment a useful addition to the classroom, didactic concepts and their implementation are needed (RADIANTI et al. 2020; JENSEN & KONRADSEN 2018; WANG et al. 2018). In addition, students also need receive targeted feedback on their performance to contribute to the promotion, regulation, and improvement of learning processes (BEHNKE 2016) and to close the gap between the actual state and the target state (HATTIE & TIMPERLEY 2007). During the planned dissertation, a feedback mechanism for experimental work in the virtual teaching-learning laboratory for students will be designed based on learning analytics. The development and optimization of the feedback mechanism will be scientifically monitored based on the Design-Based Research approach (DBR) according to BROWN (1992). Based on the results from qualitative and quantitative methods, an optimized feedback culture in the virtual teaching-learning laboratory will be implemented and general design principles will be derived.

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