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Exploring the Impact of Integrated Fieldwork, Reflective and Metacognitive Experiences on Student Environmental Learning Outcomes

  • Roy Ballantynet (a1), David Anderson (a2) and Jan Packer (a1)


Although the important role of providing fieldwork experiences for students in the natural environment is now well-established within environmental education literature, there is still little research evidence to guide teachers in their choice of effective teaching strategies. This paper presents findings from an interpretive case study designed to investigate the value of combining experience-based fieldwork in a mangrove and coastal environment with reflective and metacognitive activities. Analysis of video recordings, researcher observation notes and interviews of a class of Year 11 biology students who participated in the activities resulted in the emergence of five themes. These themes together provided evidence of enhanced student environmental learning, and included student appreciation for various learning contexts, self-awareness of group learning processes, and awareness of the integration of cross-curriculum knowledge. The study supports and illustrates the contention that the most effective environmental learning experiences are likely to be those that integrate learning in the natural environment with classroom learning strategies.


Corresponding author

School of Tourism, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia. Email:


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