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Designing for Change: Environmental Education Research and Practice

Have you ever wondered how research in psychology, learning sciences, environmental studies, and other fields might be relevant to your environmental education work? Are you curious about where to find and how to use the latest research to enhance your programs? In this course, you will learn how to access and integrate research findings into your environmental programs using creative and collaborative design-thinking approaches.

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Designing for Change: Environmental Education Research and Practice

There is one session available:

190 already enrolled!
After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Jul 1

Designing for Change: Environmental Education Research and Practice

Have you ever wondered how research in psychology, learning sciences, environmental studies, and other fields might be relevant to your environmental education work? Are you curious about where to find and how to use the latest research to enhance your programs? In this course, you will learn how to access and integrate research findings into your environmental programs using creative and collaborative design-thinking approaches.

Designing for Change: Environmental Education Research and Practice
Estimated 6 weeks
1–2 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed
Free
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Jul 1

About this course

Skip About this course

Environmental education (EE) research can create an essential foundation for enhancing and improving programs, and it can support high-quality, theoretically and empirically based evaluation. Engaging with academic research can help EE practitioners more effectively understand how people learn about the environment, connect with the natural world, develop environmental identities, build citizen-action skills, and envision their role as part of a social movement. .

Using strategies from Stanford’s design thinking school (“the d.school”), course participants will learn-by-doing through activities that foster innovative approaches to EE. The course teaches participants how to develop tailored solutions for integrating research into their own EE practice. Participants will leave the session with tools and resources for accessing and applying research.

This course is designed for a range of stakeholders in the EE space: field educators from local, regional, and national organizations; environmental educators who work in a range of settings such as schools, museums, aquaria, zoos, gardens, and parks, among others; funders; and other stakeholders who are interested in infusing their on-the-ground practice with research-informed perspectives.

Given the course’s focus on design thinking, participants are highly encouraged to take the course with a partner. The activities are organized as partner work in order to help participants reflect and gain a deeper understanding of their program needs.

This course was developed by members of Stanford’s Social Ecology Lab led by Professor Nicole Ardoin, including Dr. Mele Wheaton, Dr. Stephanie Rafanelli, Emily Williams, and Marika Jaeger. The course team members are researchers as well as long-time educators working in both formal and informal learning institutions. This course was designed because the Social Ecology Lab work is dedicated to helping make academic research more accessible and usable for educators in a variety of settings.

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

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In this course, you will learn the following:

  • How to pinpoint the change you want in your program
  • How to interview stakeholders to help you refine your needs
  • How to find research that’s relevant to your work
  • How to use transferable design-thinking tools and strategies for applying research findings to your work
  • How to create a prototype that addresses a change in your work based on the most-applicable research findings

Module 1: Setting the Stage

Module 2: Defining Research

Module 3: Selecting Your Spark

Module 4: Interviewing for Insight

Module 5: Finding Your Change Space

Module 6: Diving into the Research

Module 7: Moving from Ideas to Action

Module 8: Prototyping and Beyond

About the instructors

Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I need to work with a partner for this course?

Ideally, you will work with a partner on this course. While your partner doesn’t need to complete the course at the same time as you, having someone with whom to complete the activities will be extremely helpful to successfully completing and implementing the core course material.

Will I come away with specific research findings?

A key element of this course focuses on learning how to find relevant research that is of interest to you. You will, therefore, walk away knowing about, and understanding how to apply, findings from research that you explore during the course.

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