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Title: An analysis on the effectiveness of the lifelong learning through nature programme
Other Titles: Handbook of lifelong learning for sustainable development
Authors: Mifsud, Mark C.
Chisholm, Hannah
Keywords: Outdoor education
Sustainable development
Environmental education
Continuing education -- Malta -- Case studies
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Springer
Citation: Mifsud, M., & Chisholm, H. (2018). An analysis on the effectiveness of the lifelong learning through nature programme. In L. F. Walter, M. Mifsud & P. Pace (Eds.), Handbook of lifelong learning for sustainable development (pp. 165-182). Springer: Cham.
Abstract: Young people are becoming more detached from nature through a number of causes, including their increased use of digital media. This detachment from nature results in a lowering in the sense of ownership of the land and its resources and subsequently results in less motivation to conserve it. In order to reverse such behaviours and attitudes, a new programme termed ‘Lifelong Learning through Nature’ (LLN) was devised. This study is an analysis of the LLN programme and its potential for making links between outdoor learning, fieldwork and education for sustainable development. These results shed light on the effectiveness of the programme in influencing knowledge and attitudes and, in turn, lead to formulate a way forward in the programme’s evolution. Outdoor education is an essential element of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) which is key to address the current situation for a sustainable future. The data was collected through a number of focus groups with students from a number of different schools from the Maltese islands. Each group of students was researched through a pre-activity focus group and a post-activity focus group. The data was then transcribed and translated and subsequently analysed through a structured thematic analysis. The results revealed a great sense of detachment in the young students and eventually a greater sense of pointlessness in the older students. The post-focus groups indicated excellent improvement in knowledge and a perceptible change towards a more positive attitude across the ages. This study reveals that the LLN programme does have an influential role in the knowledge and attitudes of school children towards nature. This study continues to uphold the vision that outdoor education should be considered as a main activity which involves and results in ESD. In response to these findings, a model illustrating the emerging links between the LLN programme and various factors is presented. This paper directly illustrates how university research in teamwork with non-governmental organisations can impact the local community and the study will be useful to anyone interested in carrying out effective programmes and research into the links between ESD and outdoor education.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - CenEER

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