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
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.
So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
28.10.2016 | Life Sciences
28.10.2016 | Life Sciences