Educators' belief change in a situated learning environment
Deissler, Christa Harrelson
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The objective of this study was to understand four educators’ beliefs about the nature of learning and purpose of education before and after participation in an educational theory class that focused on theories related to the situated perspective. For the purpose of this study, the situated perspective includes social and educational theories of learning that focus on contextually-based, authentic learning that occurs within a specific setting. The class was designed to provide an opportunity for teachers to both study the theories behind the situated perspective and experience learning from the situated perspective. The situated learning experience took place through the educators’ participation as educational interns with a non-profit whale conservation organization that provides education on-board sight-seeing trips with a commercial whale-watching company. Through this internship, educators were learning about whales, their environment, and issues affecting their survival. During the week that this situated learning experience was taking place, educators were also involved in formal class sessions and reflection sessions that focused on both the experience and the relevant supporting theories. Using an ethnographic case study design and a narrative analysis approach, four case studies are presented along with analysis in respect to the theoretical frameworks of conceptual change theory and transformational learning theory.