Research Areas

The research group of the Chair of Physics Education focuses on the following areas:

  • Modelling and measurement of phsics competencies, especially in the area of scientific thinking and reasoning.
  • Fostering of competencies in the area of scientific thinking and reasoning, characteristics of effective instruction as well as description and modelling of processes of competency development.
  • Self-regulated learning with digital media in physics.

To investigate these areas, different data sources are used (e.g. questionnaires, interviews, video recordings, trace data) and analysed via quantitative approaches (e.g. descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, Rasch analyses) and qualitative approaches (e.g. quantitative content analysis). Our research typically focuses on secondary and university students.

Current Projects

ProSRL: Processes of self-regulation in a digital task-based learning environment for physics undergraduates

Digital learning environments play an increasingly important role at German universities in recent years. Among other objectives, these environments are intended to support students with insufficient prior knowledge in catching up and thereby contribute to their academic success. The use of digital environments seems promising because they allow students to learn in an autonomous and flexible way. However, empirical findings show that these environments often exhibit low student persistence and high drop-out rates, indicating that many learners are unable to take advantage of their potential. It is assumed that the drop-out rates are at least partly caused by the fact that autonomous learning with digital environments places high demands on students' ability to self-regulate their learning. For instance, to use a digital environment successfully, students need to assess their own abilities and knowledge gaps realistically, set themselves corresponding goals, and select matching learning tasks. To support learners in facing such challenges of self-regulated learning, researchers and educators need insights into the self-regulation processes of learners and the difficulties they encounter while learning in digital environments. So far, students' self-regulated learning has primarily been investigated in environments that mainly consist of information (facts, explanations etc.) being presented to students, for example, in the form of texts or videos (e.g., hypermedia environments). In contrast, little is known about students' self-regulated learning in environments that primarily consist of tasks and problems which require learners to process and apply the information provided. This gap in the literature is critical because processing information by solving tasks is assumed to be essential for learning in the natural sciences. To address this gap a first study will be conducted that aims to capture the self-regulation processes and corresponding difficulties of physics students working in a digital task-based learning environment. It will also be investigated how these processes and the occurrence of specific difficulties are related to learner characteristics as well as learning success. The insights gained in the first study may not only contribute to our understanding of the self-regulation processes taking place in digital environments but can also inform the development of measures to support students in self-regulating their learning. Based on the results of the first study, specific support measures will be developed and implemented in the environment. Following the implementation, a second study will be conducted to investigate the effect of these measures on students' self-regulation processes and their learning success. Together, these two studies will contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms of successful and unsuccessful self-regulated learning in task-based environments and help us to derive successful support measures.

Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Andreas Vorholzer (TUM), Prof. Dr. Alexander Eitel (JLU Gießen)
Co-Investigators: Prof. Dr. Claudia von Aufschnaiter (JLU Gießen), Prof. Dr. Joachim Stiensmeier-Pelster (JLU Gießen)
Project Staff: Julius Weckler (TUM), Jonas Gabi (JLU Gießen), Anna Kienitz (JLU Gießen)

Funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) - VO2255/1-1 & EL1080/3-1