"I had a spider in my mouth": What makes students happy in outdoor environmental education programs

Eval Program Plann. 2023 Aug:99:102326. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2023.102326. Epub 2023 May 29.


The study contributes to program design and evaluation practice in outdoor environmental education by identifying instructional strategies crucial for student satisfaction. Student satisfaction is a major factor in the overall success of outdoor environmental education programs. While the impact of these programs on student knowledge, attitudes, and behavior has been assessed often, student satisfaction has been subject of much less research. This study analyzes student satisfaction with four outdoor environmental education programs in the Czech Republic. The authors collected qualitative (N = 68) and quantitative (N = 323) data from the program participants after they had completed their respective programs. According to the results, the students appreciate a clearly defined program with meaningful activities. Also important is the role of the program leader and the students' having the opportunity to influence the activities during their free time in the program. Student satisfaction can in some cases be decreased by challenging weather and by demanding social interactions with their peers.

Keywords: Mixed research; Outdoor environmental education; Residential programs; Student satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mouth
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Program Evaluation
  • Spiders*
  • Students