ERIC Number: EJ1083325
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
The Integrative Learning Value of Field Courses
Durrant, Kate L.; Hartman, Thomas P. V.
Journal of Biological Education, v49 n4 p385-400 2015
The integrative learning ethos pervades modern higher education. Broadly speaking, this aims to produce well-rounded, adaptable graduates suited to a range of working environments. In a more narrow sense it should produce students that are able to make connections across learning experiences and achieve learning at the highest cognitive level. Our study made use of field courses, which are uniquely placed to offer students integrative learning experiences. Although cognitive gains for students on field courses have been demonstrated previously, this study investigated whether students appreciate the integrative learning gains that students may achieve and applied these findings to the design of a new field course. This course specifically targeted integrative learning outcomes that we subsequently assessed. We found undergraduate students surveyed across three departments at the University of Nottingham recognised that field courses facilitated integrative learning in both the narrow and broad sense. Importantly, students themselves realised the integrative learning gains associated with attending a field course. We found this was also true for the newly designed field course. Overall, we found that field courses offer valuable integrative learning gains, and that these are recognised and appreciated by students. These findings provide strong support for continued offering and increased provision of field course modules in the sciences.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Field Studies, Student Attitudes, Learning Experience, Integrated Activities, Undergraduate Students, Student Surveys, Interdisciplinary Approach, Biology, Science Instruction, Classification, Online Surveys, Likert Scales, Interviews
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Nottingham)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A