The research conducted for this dissertation examined the learning environment of a specific high school program that delivered the explicit curriculum through an integrated experiential manner, which utilized field and outdoor experiences. The program ran over one semester (five months) and it integrated the grade 10 British Columbian curriculum in five subjects. A mixed methods approach was employed to identify the students’ perceptions and provide richer descriptions of their experiences related to their unique learning environment. Quantitative instruments were used to assess changes in students' perspectives of their learning environment, as well as other supporting factors including students’ mindfulness, and behaviours towards the environment. Qualitative data collection included observations, open-ended questions, and impromptu interviews with the teacher. The qualitative data describe the factors and processes that influenced the learning environment and give a richer, deeper interpretation which complements the quantitative findings. The research results showed positive scores on all the quantitative measures conducted, and the qualitative data provided further insight into descriptions of learning environment constructs that the students perceived as most important. A major finding was that the group cohesion measure was perceived by students as the most important attribute of their preferred learning environment. A flow chart was developed to help the researcher conceptualize how the learning environment, learning process, and outcomes relate to one another in the studied program. This research attempts to explain through the consideration of this case study: how learning environments can influence behavioural change and how an interconnectedness among several factors in the learning process is influenced by the type of learning environment facilitated. Considerably more research is needed in this area to understand fully the complexity learning environments and how they influence learning and behaviour.
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Thesis advisor: Zandvliet, David
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