ERIC Number: EJ1037583
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 56
The Relationship between Environmental Free-Choice Learning and Students' Learning, Attitudes, and Policy Views about Waterways
Herman, Benjamin C.; Olson, Joanne K.; Holtz, James D.; Colbert, James T.
International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, v11 n6 p1327-1350 Dec 2013
Environmental free-choice learning is a strategy that has been shown to have positive short-term impacts upon participants' attitudes and understanding of desired educational outcomes. However, longitudinal studies in this area are rare due to difficulties inherent in data collection and vast differences in participants in these kinds of educational experiences. This study examined the effectiveness of participation in the Skunk River Navy, a free-choice environmental education experience, 1-4 years afterward to determine longitudinal effects of the experience on participants' attitudes toward waterways and content knowledge. Importantly, participants were compared to non-participants who were also biology majors in the same program, completed the same coursework, and who likely shared similar dispositions, interest in biology, and are of similar demographic backgrounds. Results indicate that attitudes toward waterways and content knowledge were higher among participants, but that content knowledge remains lower than desired by program developers. Therefore, when reducing the impact of selection and variance within the study population, longitudinal positive effects can be seen from free-choice learning experiences when they are coupled with formal classroom experiences that address similar concepts.
Descriptors: Environmental Education, Student Attitudes, Water, Longitudinal Studies, Knowledge Level, Educational Experience, Biology, Majors (Students), Outcomes of Education, Educational Strategies, Student Participation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A