Student-Centered Teaching Through Experiential Learning ... Student-Centered Teaching Through Experiential

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  • Student-Centered Teaching Through Experiential Learning and Assessment

    • Assess and document impact of an

    experiential learning project on conceptual

    knowledge of the students and their ability to

    synthesize and apply the concepts learned.

    I. Project • A semester long project incorporating all the

    four steps of the Kolb’s Experiential Learning

    Model introduced.

    • Student pairs managed 13 different species

    of cover crops and 6 vegetable crops

    including planting, weeding, taking care, and

    harvesting of their crops (Figure 2).

    • Recorded crop growth and soil quality

    parameters.

    • Reflected upon their observations on their

    crop plots and others, and synthesized

    concepts.

    Fig. 1. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle

    Results

    Reference Kolb, D.A. 1984. Experiential learning: experience as the source of

    learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

    Acknowledgements Plant and Environmental Sciences,

    New Mexico State University. Las Cruces, NM

    Introduction • Experiential learning: "the process whereby

    knowledge is created through the

    transformation of experience." Kolb (1984).

    • Why Experiential Learning:

    Students are better able to effectively apply

    principles when instruction is combined with

    experiential learning.

    “Tell me and I will forget,

    show me and I may remember,

    involve me and I will understand“

    (Confucius 450 BC).

    • Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory:

    • In order to gain genuine knowledge from a

    learning experience, the students must go

    through the 4 steps of the cycle of (Fig. 1).

    Figures 3 & 4. Students’ conceptual knowledge about various topics as

    observed in self-assessment (Fig. 3a-c); and direct assessment (Fig. 4a-c).

    • Majority of the students showed an increased level of conceptual and applied

    knowledge after completing the experiential learning project (Figs. 3, 4, & 5).

    • More than 90% of the students earned 95-100% grade in their final report

    evaluated based on critical thinking, analytical ability, and problem-solving.

    II. Assessment 1. Conceptual knowledge:

    i. Self-assessment: pre/post

    ii.Direct assessment: post

    2. Applied knowledge: crop

    evaluations

    3. Critical thinking, analytical

    ability, and problem-solving:

    comprehensive report

    Objectives

    Methods

    The experiential learning

    project improved both the

    conceptual knowledge of the

    students and their ability to

    synthesize and apply the

    concepts learned.

    Figure 2. Students

    experiencing the 4 stages

    of the experiential learning

    cycle.

    Conclusion

    Kulbhushan Grover1 and Shelly Stovall2

    Plant & Environmental Sciences1; Office of the Associate Provost2, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

    kgrover@nmsu.edu1; sstovall@ad.nmsu.edu2

    Figure 5a-b. Students’ applied knowledge as observed in in-field direct

    assessment (n=19).

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    A Lot A Little Nothing

    “Principles of Planting Cover Crops”

    Before

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    “Criteria to Evaluate Cover Crops”

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    “Criteria to Evaluate Cover Crops”

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    A Lot A Little Nothing

    “Principles of Planting Cover Crops”

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    A Lot A Little Nothing

    “Major Roles of Cover Crops”

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    A Lot A Little Nothing

    “Major Role of Cover Crops”

    Before

    After

    3a. 4a.

    3b. 4b.

    3c. 4c.

    % s

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    Degree of knowledge observed

    Recommendation

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    Poor Good Excellent

    “In-Field Crop Performance Rating: Oats”

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    yes no

    “Recommend a Crop or Not for the southwest: Oats”

    5a. 5b.

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    Crop performance rating

    Student Testimonials

    New Initiative

    “Student-Centered Field Laboratory”

    A New Initiative in Experiential Learning.

    “Got us to think out of the box.”

    “I believe this could revolutionize

    the college experience.”

    “We worked together, learned

    together, & enjoyed the

    experience as a whole.”

    “You can teach a student all you

    want from a book..

    …future classes and employment

    opportunities.”

    “The biggest gain was real-world

    experience that can be carried over to

    …but it will never be the same as

    to actually applying the concepts.”

    “This was my best Agronomy class.”

    In s

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