Students learn about the plants of Marojejy National Park during an educational trip to the forest

“Thank you, Marojejy:” affective learning outcomes of student participants in place-based field trips to Marojejy National Park

Kylie Marie Sorenson, Louis Joxe Jaofeno, Erik R. Patel, K. Anne-Isola Nekaris


Evaluations of conservation education programmes are most often concerned within the cognitive domain, where logical learning takes place. In place-based education, emphasis is instead placed on learning in multiple domains, including the cognitive and affective domains. Here, we quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate student learning in the affective domain following a series of short educational trips to Marojejy National Park, Northeast Madagascar. Student responses to the prompt “write about your trip to Marojejy” were evaluated for content, including emotional responses using cultural consensus, saliency scoring, and qualitative evaluation. The most salient term used in responses were “a good trip”. when tested 1.5 to 2 weeks after their trip. Students wrote about the emotional impact of the trip in four out of five levels of the affective domain. Our findings highlight the value of place-based education for learning in the affective domain. We demonstrated that even over a brief period of three days, place-based conservation education can have a marked impact on the values and emotions of participants.



Les évaluations de programmes d’éducation en matière de préservation sont le plus souvent axées sur le domaine cognitif, là où s’effectue l’apprentissage logique. Dans l’éducation effectuée sur place, l’accent est au contraire mis sur un apprentissage multidisciplinaire, qui inclut à la fois les domaines cognitifs et affectifs. Ici, nous évaluons de façon quantitative et qualitative l’apprentissage des étudiants dans le domaine affectif en suivant une série de brèves excursions à but éducatif au Parc national de Marojejy, dans le Nord-Est de Madagascar. Les réponses des étudiants à l’instruction « Parlez-nous de votre excursion à Marojejy » ont fait l’objet d’une évaluation tenant également compte des aspects émotionnels, sur la base du consensus culturel, du score de saillance et du point de vue qualitatif. L’expression la plus saillante utilisée dans les réponses a été « bonne excursion » dans les tests effectués 1,5 à 2 semaines après leur retour. Les étudiants ont relaté l’impact émotionnel de l’excursion dans quatre des cinq niveaux du domaine affectif. Nos résultats mettent en évidence la valeur d’une éducation sur place pour un apprentissage au niveau affectif. Nous avons démontré que même après une brève période de trois jours, l’éducation en matière de préservation peut avoir, lorsqu’elle est effectuée sur place, un impact significatif sur les valeurs et les émotions des participants.


Place-based; Forest Trip; Education Research;

Full Text:



Alerby, E. 2000. A way of visualising children’s and young people’s thoughts about the environment: A study of drawings. Environmental Education Research 6, 3: 205–222.

Allen, K. M. and Friedman, B. D. 2010. Affective Learning: A taxonomy for teaching social work values. Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics 7, 2: 1–12. Available online

Bettinger, T. L., Kuhar, C. W, Lehnhardt, K., Cox, D. and Cress, D. 2010. Discovering the unexpected: lessons learned from evaluating conservation education programs in Africa. American Journal of Primatology 72, 5: 445–449.

Bogner, F. X. 1998. The influence of short-term outdoor ecology education on long-term variables of environmental perspective. The Journal of Environmental Education 29, 4: 17–29.

Bolin, A. U., Khramtsova, I. and Saarnio. D. 2005. Using student journals to stimulate authentic learning: balancing Bloom’s cognitive and affective domains. Teaching of Psychology 32, 3: 154-159.

Cazzell, M. and Rodriguez, A. 2011. Qualitative analysis of student beliefs and attitudes after an objective structured clinical evaluation: implications for affective domain learning in undergraduate nursing education. Journal of Nursing Education 50, 12: 711–714.

Chawla, L. and Derr, V. 2012. The development of conservation behaviors in childhood and youth. In The Oxford Handbook of Environmental and Conservation Psychology. S. Clayton (ed.), pp 527–555. Oxford University Press, Oxford UK.

Damerell, P., Howe, C. and Milner-Gulland, E. J. 2013. Child-orientated environmental education influences adult knowledge and household behaviour. Environmental Research Letters 8, 1: 15016.

Dolins, F. L., Jolly, A., Rasamimanana, H., Ratsimbazafy, J., Feistner, A. C. and Ravoavy. F. 2010. Conservation education in Madagascar: three case studies in the biologically diverse island-continent. American Journal of Primatology 72, 5: 391–406.

Eiss, A. F. and Harbeck, M. B. 1969. Behavioral Objectives in the Affective Domain. National Science Supervisors Association, National Science Teachers Association, Washington, D.C. Available online

Ganzhorn, J. U., Lowry, P. P., Schatz, G. E. and Sommer, S. 2001. The biodiversity of Madagascar: one of the world’s hottest hotspots on its way out. Oryx 35, 4: 346–348.

Gardner, H. 1983. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Basic Books, New York.

Garreau, J. M. and Manantsara, A. 2003. The protected-area complex of the Parc National de Marojejy and the Reserve Spéciale d’Anjanaharibe- Sud. In: The Natural History of Madagascar. S. M. Goodman and J. P. Benstead (eds.), pp 1451–1458. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Goodman, S. M., Raherilalao, M. J., and Wohlhauser, S. (eds.). 2018. The Terrestrial Protected Areas of Madagascar: Their History, Description, and Biota, pp 701–715. Association Vahatra, Antananarivo.

Hughes, C. 2013. Exploring children’s perceptions of cheetahs through storytelling: implications for cheetah conservation. Applied Environmental Education & Communication 12, 3: 173-186.

Iozzi, L. A. 1989. What research says to the educator: part one: environmental education and the affective domain. The Journal of Environmental Education 20, 3: 3–9.

Jacobs, M. H. and Harms, M. 2014. Influence of interpretation on conservation intentions of whale tourists. Tourism Management 42: 123–131.

Jacobson, S. K., McDuff, M. and Monroe, M. C. 2006. Learning and teaching with adults and youth. In: Conservation Education and Outreach Techniques. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Jones, J. G. P, Andriamarovololona, M. M. and Hockley, N. 2008. The importance of taboos and social norms to conservation in Madagascar: Informal Institutions and Conservation. Conservation Biology 22, 4: 976–986.

Kals, E., Schumacher, D. and Montada, L. 1999. Emotional affinity toward nature as a motivational basis to protect nature. Environment and Behavior 31, 2: 178–202.

Kellert, S. R. 1983. Experiencing nature: affective, cognitive, and evaluative development in children. In: Behavior and the Natural Environment. I. Altman and J. F. Wohlwill (eds.), pp 241–267. Springer US, Boston, MA.

Kuhar, C. W., Bettinger, T. L., Lehnhardt, K., Tracy, O. and Cox, D. 2010. Evaluating for long-term impact of an environmental education program at the Kalinzu Forest Reserve, Uganda. American Journal of Primatology 72, 5: 407–413.

Kuhar, C. W., Bettinger, T. L., Lehnhardt, K., Cartwright, B. and Cress, D. 2012. Education program evaluation at multiple primate sanctuaries in equatorial Africa. International Journal of Primatology 33, 1: 208–217.

Liefländer, A. K. and Bogner, F. X. 2014. The effects of children's age and sex on acquiring pro-environmental attitudes through environmental education. The Journal of Environmental Education 45, 2: 105-117.

Loudon, J. E., Patel, E. R., Faulkner, C., Schopler, R., Kramer, R. A., Williams, C. V. and Herrera, J. P. 2017. Ethnoprimatological assessment of human impact on the parasite ecology of silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus). In: Ethnoprimatology. K. M. Dore, E. P. Riley and A. Fuentes (eds.), pp 89–110. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Louv, R. 2008. Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. Algonquin books, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Mega, C., Ronconi, L. and De Beni, R. 2014. What makes a good student? how emotions, self-regulated learning, and motivation contribute to academic achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology 106, 1: 121–31.

Myers, N., Mittermeier, R. A., Mittermeier, C. G., da Fonseca, G. B. A. and Kent, J. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403, 6772: 853–858.

Nekaris, K. A. I., McCabe, S., Spaan, D., Ali, M. I. and Nijman, V. 2018. A novel application of cultural consensus models to evaluate conservation education programs. Conservation Biology 32, 2: 466–476.

Ormsby, A. 2008. Development of environmental education programs for protected areas in Madagascar. Applied Environmental Education & Communication 6, 3–4: 223–232.

Osler, J. E. 2013. The psychological efficacy of education as a science through personal, professional, and contextual inquiry of the affective learning domain. Journal on Educational Psychology 6, 4: 36–41.

Patel, E. R., Marshall, J. J. and Parathian, H. 2005. Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus) conservation education in northeastern Madagascar. Laboratory Primate Newsletter 44, 3: 8–11.

Patel, E. R. 2007. Logging of rare rosewood and palisandre (Dalbergia spp.) within Marojejy National Park, Madagascar. Madagascar Conservation & Development 2, 1: 11-16.

Pearson, E., Dorrian, J. and Litchfield, C. 2011. Harnessing visual media in environmental education: increasing knowledge of orangutan conservation issues and facilitating sustainable behaviour through video presentations. Environmental Education Research 17, 6: 751–767.

Powell, D. M. and Bullock, E. V. W. 2014. Evaluation of factors affecting emotional responses in zoo visitors and the impact of emotion on conservation mindedness. Anthrozoös 27, 3: 389–405.

Rakotomamonjy, S. N., Jones, J. P. G., Razafimanahaka, J. H., Ramamonjisoa, B. and Williams, S. J. 2015. The effects of environmental education on children’s and parents’ knowledge and attitudes towards lemurs in rural Madagascar. Animal Conservation 18, 2: 157–166.

Ratsimbazafy, J. 2003. Lemurs as the most appropriate and best current didactic tool for teaching. Lemur News 8, 19–21.

Reibelt, L. M., Richter, T., Waeber, P. O., Rakotoarimanana, S. H. N. H. and Mantilla-Contreras, J. 2014. Environmental education in its infancy at Lake Alaotra, Madagascar. Madagascar Conservation & Development 9, 2: 71–82.

Reis, G. and Roth, W. M. 2009. A feeling for the environment: emotion talk in/for the pedagogy of public environmental education. The Journal of Environmental Education 41, 2: 71–87.

Savickiene, I. 2010. Conception of learning outcomes in the Bloom’s taxonomy affective domain. Quality of Higher Education 7: 37–59. Available online

Scales, I. R. 2014. The drivers of deforestation and the complexity of land use in Madagascar. In: Conservation and Environmental Management in Madagascar. I. R. Scales (ed.), pp 129–150. Routledge, London and New York.

Schachenmann, P. 2006. Spiritual values in Madagascar. Mountain Research and Development 26, 4: 323–327.

Schwitzer, C., Mittermeier, R. A., Davies, N., Johnson, S., Ratsimbazafy, J., et al. (eds.) 2013. Lemurs of Madagascar – A Strategy for Their Conservation 2013–2016. IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group, Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, and Conservation International, Bristol, UK.

Sebba, R. 1991. The landscapes of childhood: the reflection of childhood’s environment in adult memories and in children’s attitudes. Environment and Behavior 23, 4: 395–422.

Semken, S. and Freeman, C.B. 2008. Sense of place in the practice and assessment of place-based science teaching. Science Education 92, 6: 1042–1057.

Smith, J. J. 1993. Using ANTHOPAC 3.5 and a spreadsheet to compute a free-list salience index. Cultural Anthropology Methods 5, 3: 1–3.

Smith, G. A. 2002. Place-based education: learning to be where we are. Phi Delta Kappan 83, 8: 584–594.

Sobel, D. 1996. Beyond Ecophobia. The Orion Society, Great Barrington, MA.

Sobel, D. 2004. Place-based Education: Connecting Classroom and Community. The Orion Society, Great Barrington, MA.

Tanner, T. 1980. Significant life experiences: a new research area in environmental education. The Journal of Environmental Education 11, 4: 20–24.

Wallis, J. and Lonsdorf, E. V. 2010. Summary of recommendations for primate conservation education programs. American Journal of Primatology 72, 5: 441–444.

Weller, S. C. 2007. Cultural consensus theory: applications and frequently asked questions. Field Methods 19: 339–368.

Wright, P., Kling, K. J. and Cornejo, F. 2017. Primate conservation education. In: The International Encyclopedia of Primatology. M. Bezanson., K. C. MacKinnon, E. Riley, C. J. Campbell, K.A.I. Nekaris, et al. (eds.), pp 1–11. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, N.J.

Madag. conserv. dev.
ISSN: 1662-2510