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Investigating conditions for transfer of learning in an outdoor experiential study abroad program
Linköping University, Department of Arts, Craft and Design.
2006 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Magister), 10 points / 15 hpStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the study was to investigate how teaching for transfer of learning was built into a month-long outdoor experiential education course within a semester long study abroad program and to address the extent to which student perception of learning gains could be transferred for use in future courses and for later in life. From a program planning and evaluation perspective it was also important to determine what types of activities and experiences within the course were instrumental in helping students to develop concepts and skills that could be transferred to life after the course. This research quantifies the frequency and consistency of teaching for transfer events using a tool based on research by a social psychologist (Haskell, 2001) and an outdoor experiential educator. (Gass, 1990) Student perception of learning gains were measured at the end of the course with the SALG assessment tool. (Seymour, Wiese, Hunter, & Daffinrud, 2000)

This research is an ethnographic case study of an expedition field course (EFC) entitled Human Rights and the Environment: Rivers, Dams and Local Struggles at the Institute for Sustainable Development Studies (ISDSI) based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which included intensive language instruction, expedition field studies, and leadership opportunities to enable students to study the relationship between culture and ecology. Students studied problems of a global scale by learning about local issues with the intent that the program at ISDSI aims to “develop committed leaders for a sustainable future”. (Ritchie, 2006, p. 1) It is a response to the call for educational programs in the field of outdoor and experiential learning to examine the benefits and outcomes of course offerings. (Ewert, 1996; Hattie, Marsh, Neill and Richards, 1997; Holman and McAvoy, 2005)

Through a qualitative look at observation data, recommendations were made to increase the capacity for this ISDSI course to promote the transfer of learning. Some suggestions include expanding the use of systems thinking and examples of individuals who are masters of transfer thinking into course design, heightening culture and ecology connections through increased use of guided facilitation, integrating individual goal setting, and expanding internal assessment and staff development possibilities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Estetiska institutionen , 2006. , 108 p.
Keyword [en]
Transfer of learning, outdoor education, experiential learning, culture and ecology, study abroad, Thailand
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-6801ISRN: LIU-ESI-MOE-D--06/010--SEOAI: diva2:22003
2006-06-14, Formgivning 1, Key Huset, LiU Campus, 13:30
Available from: 2006-07-06 Created: 2006-07-06

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