NotesFAQContact Us
Collection
Advanced
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED525529
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 152
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-9025-0
ISSN: N/A
Connecting Formal and Informal Learning Experiences
O'Mahony, Timothy Kieran
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington
The learning study reports on part of a larger project being lead by the author. In this dissertation I explore one goal of this project--to understand effects on student learning outcomes as a function of using different methods for connecting out-of-school experiential learning with formal school-based instruction. There is a long history of assuming that "experience is the best teacher"(e.g. Aristotle, 360 BC; Dewey, 1934; Kolb, 1997; Pliny, AD 77). As a practical geographer I endorsed that assumption throughout my teaching career, paying attention to local topography, physical features, and natural resources in the geographic hinterland. I was particularly interested in understanding the impact of the physical landscape on humankind, and reciprocally, noting humankind's widespread impressions on the natural world. Until I began this research project, I assumed that everyone else paid a similar attention to immediate surroundings. The work that I describe in this dissertation emerges out of a conviction that there are many degrees of truth to the idea that experience is a great teacher. Its effectiveness seems to depend on how one's "experience" is mediated, and how "learning from it" is defined. This motivated me to think about design principles for linking people's experiences to learning. I began to explore, experimentally, how I might enhance people's abilities to notice, represent, and discuss their experiences in order to better learn from them. This study investigated how different ways of connecting outdoor learning experiences to formal schooling impacts students' performance. I studied high-school students in outdoor settings as they engaged in evocative issues of learning pertaining to consequential everyday life encounters. Different kinds of "expert mediation" were introduced and tested as the students engaged in investigative activities around the science of dam removal and habitat restoration. I measured outcomes with the aid of pre- and posttests, progressive self-assessments, and ethnographic observations. Since I argue that the idea of learning from experience is underspecified, I present empirical findings to show that experience per se is not enough. I discuss tools and other artifacts that help learners notice key dimensions of their experiences, and demonstrate how they link these to other aspects of their culture and lives. Findings indicate that a mediated approach does in fact help students outperform participants who only received the experience. A time for telling was also advantageous for students to improve learning and using technology to reduce cognitive load was instrumental in further improving their learning. Future plans are discussed to follow up on these findings and to implement new tests as the dams are removed and the natural habitat is restored. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A