Free-Choice Learning

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Free-Choice Learning

Free-choice learning is a new concept that I discovered doing research for this paper. The term free-choice learning gained my attention because it kept popping up in research papers in relation to zoos and other informal education settings. Because of the frequent occurrence of this topic in zoo related journal articles, i figured it would be professionally beneficial to learn more about it . So, what is free-choice learning. Falk et al. describe free-choice learning in their book Free-Choice Learning and The Environment as; “the term we use to describe the learning that occurs in environmental education settings when the learning is largely under the choice and control of the learner - most casual visitors who do not
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Free-choice learning is often associated with the following concepts: informal education, environmental education and conservation psychology. Informal education is a term used to describe institutional setting other than schools (Faulk et al. 2009). “Environmental education is the process of recognizing and clarifying concepts in order to develop skills and attitudes necessary to understand and appreciate the interrelatedness among humans, culture, and the biophysical surroundings. Environmental education also entails practice in decision making and self-formulation of a code of behavior about issues concerning environmental quality(Faulk et al. 2009).” Conservation psychology (CP) is “the scientific study of the reciprocal relations between humans and the rest of nature (Saunders, 2003).” Conservation Psychology is a field in which researchers can study the relationships between humans and their knowledge and feelings towards nature. Conservation psychology is similar to environmental psychology (EP), paper by Carol Saunders in 2003 describes the differences between the two …show more content…
Novel and stimulating multisensory experience help in engaging learners in a free-choice learning environment (Faulk et al. 2009) Connecting audiences with wildlife through empathy is a strong factor in free-choice learning in wildlife conservation education. Empathy can be a result of or a motivator to learn and take action on a subject matter(Faulk et al. 2009). Along with this free-choice learning settings may provide a validly to what some people may already believe in. Having one’s empathy confirmed can be a strong motivator to take action (Faulk et al. 2009). With a free-choice learning setting a person has a choice in what aspects they participate in. It is argued that all free-choice learning as some form of facilitated instructions, because the learning experience involved a carefully crafted messages developed with a specific educational goal or outcome (Randall, 2012). The second argument is how free is free-choice learning (Randal, 2012)? Because some visitors could possibly have some sort specific outcome given by some other factor other factor than that of the institution supplying educational content. Overall research as shown that free-choice learning is demonstrated and educational outcomes are indirect, constructed by the visitor themselves as much as outcomes are influenced by a zoo’s educational staff. (Clayton et al., 2008). It is also seen that educational outcomes

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