Implementation of Experiential Learning in 4-H Educational Travel Opportunities: A Delphi Study
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Experiential learning has become an integral part of 4-H nationwide. All 4-H programming is done with the experiential learning model in mind. A unique educational experience that 4-H offers are the educational travel opportunities. These travel opportunities include but are not limited to National 4-H Congress, National 4-H Conference, Space Camp, and Citizenship Washington Focus. The objectives of this study were to, (a) identify where, and how, experiential learning is implemented in 4-H educational travel opportunities; (b) determine potential drawbacks of using the experiential learning model in 4-H educational travel opportunities and; (c) determine potential ways that experiential learning could be further implemented in 4-H educational travel opportunities. The Delphi method was used for this study to gain a consensus on opinions of 4-H educators. Sixteen 4-H educators, eight from Minnesota and eight from Wisconsin, were selected that were considered experts in 4-H educational travel opportunities. The first survey included three open-ended questions that related to the objectives. The responses were then analyzed and used to create Likert scale statements that again related back to each of the objectives. The second round Likert scale statements asked study participants to state their agreement level to 13 statements that related to the three objectives of the study. In order for a consensus to be made, two-thirds of study participants needed to either somewhat agree or strongly agree, or somewhat disagree or strongly disagree. The second-round survey clearly showed a consensus among 4-H educators, making the third survey that was planned redundant. The main consensus was that, like all other 4-H programs, there is value in using the experiential learning in educational travel opportunities. Furthermore, the study showed that there are some potential drawbacks to using experiential learning in this program, however, it was unclear that drawbacks can be mitigated if all objectives and goals are clear. Lastly, results indicate that 4-H educators agree that experiential learning opportunities can be added to the front side of these trips. In summary, results show that the experiential learning model has many benefits in 4-H educational travel opportunities, with few drawbacks.
M.S., Agriculture Education