The Effect of Experiential Learning in Natural Conditions on Pupils‘ Ideas about the Ecosystem
In schools experiential learning in natural conditions is currently a popular organizational form through which pupils‘s ideas about the ecosystem may be positively influenced. The pupil‘s personal experience of examining an ecosystem plays an important role in the gradual acquisition of knowledge of ecology. Most studies, however, have focused on the relatively long-term impact of informal education on the attitudes, knowledge and perceptions of pupils in the study area. In this survey, by contrast, we have concentrated on the immediate effects of experiential learning in the field on pupils‘ ideas about the ecosystem, which were mapped among children in primary schools by projection techniques. Analysis of pupils‘ drawings (N = 490) showed changes in ideas relating to image of the ecosystem, food relations in the ecosystem, anthropogenic impacts on the environment, biotic and abiotic environment components and the species nomenclature of model representatives of animals in the ecosystem studied. Further research was directed to identifying the ef-fect of the school location (village - town) on the level of pupils‘ ideas. The scores of the post-tests showed statistically significant differences between the experimental and control group of pupils in primary schools. The findings of this research on experiential learning suggests its positive immediate effect on pupils‘ ideas about the formation of the ecosystem under examination.