Education for sustainable development

In 2015, the United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Taking actions to combat climate changes, protecting and restoring the terrestrial ecosystems are important parts of the related goals. Digital learning media can provide a sophisticated framework to foster education in this domain.

Sustainability in consumer behavior (2021 – present)
Over the last years, we could observe increasing awareness of sustainability and climate change in society. Individual sustainable behavior emerges by various influencing factors, resulting in different degrees of sustainable behavior. An important factor is the intention behind pro-environmental behavior, which can be goal-directed, motivated by other goals, or habitual. At the same time, good intentions do not always translate into sustainable actions. To develop interventions that promote pro-environmental behavior, a joint PhD project with the Robert Bosch GmbH sheds light on cognitive mechanisms underneath sustainable thoughts and how they stimulate actions.

BeeLife: A mobile learning app for sustainable environmental education in project workshops (2020 – present)
Bees are significant contributors to our diverse flora, as they pollinate plants and trees. Particularly the “wild sisters” of our well-known honeybees significantly support this task, but without protective beehives and the care of beekeepers. According to numerous reports, habitats of wild bees are increasingly threatened, and some bee species are already extinct. In an ongoing project, we develop the mobile learning app “BeeLife”, where students can interact with a wild bee in a virtual space to generate a sense of responsibility at an early life stage. Exploring this virtual space is connected to project workshops in the real space, e.g., school environments, to build awareness for the vast possibilities to take action in daily life. Our research is supported by the German Federal Environmental Foundation.

Eco-driving training in simulator environment (displayed in Lüderitz, Wirzberger, & Karrer-Gauß, 2016; Copyright SiFaT Road Safety GmbH)

Simulator-based training to foster ecological driving (2013 – 2014)
In a collaboration between the TU Berlin and the SiFaT Road Safety GmbH, we addressed the high economical relevance of ecological driving in long-distance traffic. To train professional truck drivers in a resource-friendly driving behavior, simulation-based training offers a promising and controllable solution. We evaluated the effectiveness of this approach and found stable significant reductions in fuel consumption after the training. Our findings highlight the importance of novel paradigms in raising ecological awareness.

Related publications

  • Mönch, J., Stock, A., Baatz, J., Krieglstein, F., Stock, O., Suren, M., Rey, G. D., & Wirzberger, M. (2022). “Wild sisters” meet app: Connecting virtual and real worlds to foster environmental awareness in classroom settings. In 52nd Bi-annual Congress of the German Psychological Society.
  • Wirzberger, M., Bornemeier, J., Kampel, S., Álvarez Serrano, M. G., Ullmann, L., & Rey, G. D. (2021). Umwelt trifft App: Verbindung virtueller und realer Welten in der Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung – Kurzbericht [Environment meets app: Connecting virtual and real worlds in education for sustainable development – Short report]. Umweltpsychologie, 1, 123–132. [ARTICLE via WISO]
  • Lüderitz, C., Wirzberger, M., & Karrer-Gauß, K. (2016). Sustainable effects of simulator-based training on ecological driving. In B. Deml, P. Stock, R. Bruder, & C. M. Schlick (Eds.), Advances in Ergonomic Design of Systems, Products and Processes. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the GfA 2015 (pp. 463-475), Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-48661-0  [PDF]
  • Lüderitz, C., Wirzberger, M., & Karrer-Gauß, K. (2015). Nachhaltige Effekte simulatorbasierten Trainings auf eine ökologische Fahrweise [Sustainable effects of simulator-based training on ecological driving]. In Gesellschaft für Arbeitswissenschaft e.V. (Ed.), VerANTWORTung für die Arbeit der Zukunft [Responsibility for work in future], 61st Conference of the Society for Ergonomics and Work Science, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Human and Industrial Engineering (ifab), February 25th-27th, 2015, Dortmund: GfA Press. [PDF]
  • Wirzberger, M., Lüderitz, C., Rohrer, S., & Karrer-Gauß, K. (2014). „Keep green!“ – Nachhaltige Förderung ökologischen Fahrens durch Simulatortraining? [“Keep green!” – Promoting ecological driving through simulator training in a sustainable manner?]. In O. Güntürkün (Ed.), 49th Conference of the German Psychological Society. Abstracts (p. 570), Lengerich: Pabst Science Publishers.