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|Title:||Cognitive and affective learning in outdoor education|
|Abstract:||The goal of this study was to determine whether an outdoor education experience would have a more positive impact on the cognitive achievement and environmental attitudes of junior-level students than in a traditional classroom setting. During the spring of 1997, six classes of junior-level students attended a half-day programme in beaver ecology at the Nonquon Outdoor and Environmental Education Centre near Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada (treatment group). Another six classes of junior-level students were taught a half-day programme in beaver ecology in traditional classrooms (control group). The learning outcomes for both programmes were very similar. A total of 184 students participated in this study. Pre- and post-test questionnaires were administered to the students, one day before they participated in the programmes (pre-test), one day after they had finished the programmes (post-test), and two weeks later (retention). The questionnaire consisted of four sections. The first section asked students for demographic information such as name, gender, grade, teacher's name and the school's name. The second section consisted of survey items that derived information from the student about his/her prior experience with nature. Section three consisted of Likert-style items and measured attitudes towards nature. Section four of the questionnaire measured cognitive achievement and consisted of 12 short-answer questions on the topic of beaver ecology. Descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations and reliabilities) for all student variables were compiled using SPSS, a statistics software programme. The effects of the treatment were determined using univariate analysis of variance. The results from the data analysis indicate that: (1) neither treatment nor the control programmes had an impact on changing environmental attitudes. (2) both the control and treatment groups made gains in cognitive learning. However, the programme offered by the Nonquon Outdoor and Environmental Education Centre made a greater contribution to cognitive learning compared to the classroom programme. The results of this study demonstrate that outdoor education programmes are effective for promoting cognitive changes in students. Most outdoor educators continue to believe that their programmes have a positive impact on environmental attitudes. The results of this study have been unable to confirm this claim.|
|Place:||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Appears in Collections:||Central West Local Land Services|
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