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Volume 49, Issue 1 e20025
ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE

Examining whether order of instruction matters in an experiential learning activity

Corrine Higley

Corresponding Author

Corrine Higley

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 48825 USA

Correspondence

Corrine Higley, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48825, USA.

Email: [email protected]

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Daniel Hayes

Daniel Hayes

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 48825 USA

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First published: 24 July 2020

Abstract

Experiential learning is a pedagogical technique that places students in direct contact with the material being studied. Students progress through four stages in a continuous cycle of learning. Because it is conceptualized as a continuous cycle, we question whether student comprehension varies according to where in the learning cycle they begin. Using an experiential outdoor survival shelter building activity, we tested whether student comprehension of experiential course material varied when receiving instruction prior to the activity vs. interactive discussion after the activity. Our results indicate that students who received advance instruction created significantly higher quality survival shelters during the activity, but there was no difference in post-activity summative learning assessments between groups. Furthermore, prior outdoor survival experience was the only covariate in our analysis that affected student comprehension. No other covariates considered (treatment, gender, class rank, and participation in various outdoor activities) in our analysis affected student comprehension in this activity. Although the order of instruction did not influence student comprehension in this activity, more research is needed to explore whether instructional order matters in other experiential learning activities. Researchers are encouraged to apply this approach to other situations to further understand the ramifications of instructional order on experiential learning outcomes.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The authors declare no conflict of interest.