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ERIC Number: EJ856364
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1059-9053
Behavioral Changes Based on a Course in Agroecology: A Mixed Methods Study
Harms, Kristyn; King, James; Francis, Charles
Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, v38 p183-194 2009
This study evaluated and described student perceptions of a course in agroecology to determine if participants experienced changed perceptions and behaviors resulting from the Agroecosystems Analysis course. A triangulation validating quantitative data mixed methods approach included a written survey comprised of both quantitative and open-ended questions as well as observations by the authors. Qualitative data garnered from the 2001-2007 daily evaluations were analyzed to locate and categorize central factors essential for the development of an experiential learning environment (n = 140). Study participants consisted of students and instructors who participated in the course, with matched non-participant subjects serving as the control group for baseline comparisons (n = 66). Quantitative responses were analyzed using item analysis and ANCOVA. Qualitative responses were coded in accordance with grounded theory research practices. Although there was no significant difference between the responses of the course participants and the control group, five causal conditions were identified as playing a major role in creating an experiential environment more conducive to behavior change: hands-on experience, emotional response, human interaction, self-efficacy, and intensity of experience. Based on the research conclusions, five additional causal conditions were added to create a more comprehensive, effective model for creating an agricultural environment more conducive to experiential learning: length of course, appropriateness and rigor of curriculum, learner-centered curriculum, ongoing education, and metacognitive processes. A comprehensive grounded theory model was presented, and recommendations for future course design and research were identified. (Contains 3 figures and 2 tables.)
American Society of Agronomy. 677 South Segoe Road, Madison, WI 53711. Tel: 608-273-8080; Fax: 608-273-2021; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A