Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Experiential Learning Teaches Change and Adaptation

18.12.2009
Economics, environmental impacts, social dynamics, and production levels are all major factors that influence the overall success of an agroecosystem. Positive or negative, these factors enact change on the system, forcing individuals and social groups to continuously adapt farming and food systems in order to survive.

Experiential learning theory suggests that knowledge is gained as a direct result of firsthand experiences. Such lessons are especially valuable for environmental and agricultural educators as they consider strategies to help agroecosystem stakeholders learn how to manage change.

Agroecosystems Analysis, a course conducted in a farm and rural landscape setting, is an example of an educational program that combines experiential learning and teaching. The course required students to ask questions and look at the complexities and interactions within an agroecosystem in order to develop problem-solving skills in the area of agroecology.

Dr. Kristyn Harms, an agricultural educator at Norris High School near Lincoln, NE, in conjunction with Dr. James King and Dr. Charles Francis of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, conducted a mixed methods study which analyzed the impact of the agroecology course on enrolled students. Through a combination of pretests and posttests, daily qualitative evaluations, and personal reflections, they determined that the Agroecosystems Analysis Course measurably impacted participating students. The research results are published in the latest issue of the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education.

Based on results from the study, a model was created that outlined the factors needed to create an effective experiential learning environment and, ultimately, engage behavioral change. Hands-on activities, emotional responses to experiences, human interactions, amount of self-efficacy, and intensity of experiences all contributed to an experiential learning environment that fostered behavioral change among participants. In addition, the length of course, appropriateness and rigor of content, learner-centered curriculum, ongoing education, and metacognitive processes clearly produced a more likely path for experiential learning. Economics, the environment, production-related factors, and social dynamics were also added to the model as contextual factors that influence the experiential learning environment. Inevitable changes in knowledge, attitude, skill, and behavior were considered as well. Ultimately, when working in a trusting learning community, the causal conditions of experiential learning and agroecological system factors create an environment where changes in knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors are more likely.

Based on this study, future research should focus on analyzing the metacognitive processes present within experiential education, specifically within an agricultural environment. Further studies should also examine the impacts of the causal conditions for experiential education on the outer factors of the model (economics, environmental well-being, social dynamics, and production-based issues), and measure the correlation among causal conditions and behavioral changes of individuals participating in agroecology courses.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://www.jnrlse.org/view/2009/e08-0042.pdf . After 30 days it will be available at the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education website, http://www.jnrlse.org . Go to http://www.jnrlse.org/issues (Click on the Year, "View Article List," and scroll down to article abstract).

Today's educators are looking to the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, http://www.jnrlse.org, for the latest teaching techniques in the life sciences, natural resources, and agriculture. The journal is continuously updated online during the year and one hard copy is published in December by the American Society of Agronomy.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA)http://www.agronomy.org , is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sciencesocieties.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>