Asee peer logo

Longitudinal Evaluation Of A Learning System For Teaching Gis Within The Context Of A Geotechnical Problem

Download Paper |


2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Computational Tools and Simulation III

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.847.1 - 15.847.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Aparna Sukhavasi Missouri University of Science and Technology

author page

Richard Hall Missouri University of Science and Technology

author page

Hong Sheng Missouri University of Science and Technology

author page

Ronaldo Luna Missouri University of Science and Technology

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



A learning system, to train civil engineering students to apply Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in geotechnical problems, was evaluated over a period of 5 years, hence longitudinal. The system was tested with a series of iterations consisting of usability tests and subsequent modification, which were followed by a series of applied evaluations within the context of class lab sessions. The principal goals of this evaluation were to determine the overall effectiveness of the system and the factors that affected student learning. The first evaluation was conducted in 2004; and included a control group that played a “game” related to the content to be learned and an experimental group, in which students used the system in their lab. This was followed by an evaluation in 2008, which included an experimental group and no control group. In 2009 students who used the system in lab with a teaching assistant were compared with those who did the lab as a homework assignment. Across all experiments, compared to groups who used the learning system, the students in the 2004 control group rated their perceived learning, motivation, and real world learning significantly higher, but scored significantly lower on an objective quiz over the materials covered in the lab. In the 2009 study, students who used the system on their own scored significantly higher on the objective quiz than those who used the system in class. Further, students in all experimental groups rated their knowledge, following the uses of the system, higher than their perceived knowledge before using the system, where they were only exposed to textbook and lectures. Also, students across groups rated the lab as more motivational, effective for learning, and related to “real world” engineering. From these results we can infer that the students who used the learning system gained more knowledge regarding the geotechnical module than a control group students who were, nevertheless, more enthusiastic in their lab ratings. Further, the system appears to be effective as a stand- alone system, as compared to use within the context of a lab session.


Geographic Information System or Geographical Information System (GIS) is a computer based information system used to digitally represent and analyze the geographic features present on the Earth' surface and the events (non-spatial attributes linked to the geography under study) that take place on it. The phrase “to represent digitally” is used to convey the meaning “to convert analog (smooth line) to digital form.” They began working on the development of the GIS software in late 1950s, but the first GIS software was developed only in the late 1970s by the lab of the Environmental Systems Research Institute

Sukhavasi, A., & Hall, R., & Sheng, H., & Luna, R. (2010, June), Longitudinal Evaluation Of A Learning System For Teaching Gis Within The Context Of A Geotechnical Problem Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16940

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015