Examining the Impact of Experiential Learning Activities on Student Performance in an Introductory Animal Science Course
Keywords:teaching and learning, animal science, hands-on, undergraduate education, student performance
The use of experiential learning in agricultural courses within postsecondary institutions has become increasingly important as educators seek to provide students with a meaningful education that increases knowledge acquisition and achievement. Hands-on, experiential learning activities within agricultural sciences, and more directly animal sciences, have previously been used to provide students with experiences that increase performance in courses and overall development throughout a student’s education. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the influence that experiential learning laboratory lessons had on students enrolled in an introduction to animal science lecture course at [University]. Researchers utilized a quasi-experimental study, in which students were placed into one of three groups, depending on the experiential learning lessons that were taught throughout the semester. This was done to determine if students who participated in specific hands-on, experiential learning lessons retained more content knowledge than those who did not receive these lessons, on summative assessments given throughout the semester. Researchers utilized the first quiz scores to examine prior knowledge between groups, and determined that there was no difference. While researchers were unable to determine significance between groups and student content acquisition due to unequal group sizes, researchers determined that students who received experiential learning lessons performed better on average, than those who did not. Researchers identified recommendations for future studies, which include replicating the study with modifications, and repeating the study with two introductory courses simultaneously, in which one course entirely utilizes experiential learning lessons and the other course utilizes traditional review sessions. Additionally, researchers recommended practitioners integrate blending experiential learning opportunities and traditional lecture and review when teaching introductory courses.
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