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Transition and Transformation: The Influence of a Learning Package on Student Performance in Soils Geography Studies

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Abstract:

Recent political and economic developments in Slovenia, especially its accession to the European Union in 2004, have led to a significant reappraisal of the geography curriculum in higher education, and particularly those elements dealing with the teaching of soils. Physical geography, and especially soils geography, has long been an important part of the geographical curriculum in Slovenian universities, and it is also regarded as its most demanding element. This paper describes a 10-year project that sought to make the learning of soils geography more accessible to geography undergraduates, principally those undergoing teacher training. The project has created a new, student-centred soils geography learning resource called the Pedo-Geographical Package (PGP). Users report that the package has increased learner knowledge recall, the quality of acquired knowledge and interest in soils geography. Improvements were also reported in learners' skills in independent, creative and critical thinking and confidence, resulting in students no longer considering the subject so demanding. The package helped students acquire more soils geography knowledge, and to understand, use and explore this knowledge through their own research. The results of an evaluation survey reveal a statistically significant difference between PGP-using and non-PGP using groups.

Keywords: Pedo-Geographical Package; Physical geography; Slovenia; soils geography; teaching evaluation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03098260500290926

Affiliations: University of Maribor, Department of Geography, Slovenia

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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