Effect of outdoor education on conceptual change, emotions and self-efficacy

The aim is to study how different learning environments in outdoor education affect pupils’self-efficacy, emotions and conceptual change on the image of food system and sustainable development by using three different learning environments, the farm, the school refectory and an ordinary classroom.

Central concepts used in the research are: self-efficacy, conceptual change, emotions and learning styles.

Research questions:

1. What is the interventions’ impact on self-efficacy and emotion-cognitive factors regarding sustainable development?

2. How does the learning environment affect the image of food system and sustainable development change?


The research is based on teacher-led interventions. Interventions will be taking place on farms and school refectories and ordinary classroom education will be used as a control.

Participating pupils are in grade 5 to 6 (6 classes from Vaasa region).

The impact of the interventions will be assessed by

a) self-efficacy and emotion-cognitive scales, open questions, and essays (pre-test, post-test),

b) in-depth interviews, and

c) learning diaries.

Analysis methods are for

a) testing of scales; content and factor analysis,

b) self-efficacy; multiple regression analysis, intercorrelation matrix,

analysis of variance and t-tests and

c) for open questions, interviews and learning diaries; narrative and content analysis.

Pre-test and post-test comparisons are used to track changes.