You are here:

A Comparative Analysis of Online versus Traditional Teaching of Environmental Literacy Using Participatory Action Research

, Fielding Graduate University, United States

Fielding Graduate University . Awarded


This dissertation examined the question, "how does a traditional lecture/lab general education course compare to an online format course for developing environmental literacy in a university general education course when participatory action research (PAR) is incorporated into both courses?" I gathered data using pre and post surveys, which measured ecological knowledge, beliefs, and attitude and behaviors. I used participatory action research to obtain qualitative data through focus groups which met 3 times during a semester. Quantitative data were generalized and showed increases in all areas examined in both courses, face-to-face and online. Students reported enjoying having a voice in their educational experience, enjoyed many types of student-centered learning methods, and felt that student-centered learning and their participation in the participatory action research focus groups contributed to their environmental literacy. The quantitative data showed that students in both classes scored higher on the post-survey in the areas of beliefs, knowledge, and attitudes and behaviors. On average, students in the online course increased in the area of "beliefs" by 8 points and the students in the on-campus course increased by 6 points. In the "knowledge" area the online course students, on average increased by 3.5 points and the on-campus by 3 points. In the area of "attitudes" the online students increased by 6 points and the on-campus course by 3 points. Total gains in environmental literacy in the online course were 17.5 points and in the on-campus course 12 points. Based on the qualitative data, the use of participatory action research was also effective in increasing environmental literacy rates. The qualitative data suggest that student involvement in their education helps engage and empower students, therefore increasing their learning and in this case their environmental literacy. Based on this study, both platforms of education are effective in increasing environmental literacy and the data suggest that involvement of students in their education increases their learning through empowerment.


Zayas, N.L. A Comparative Analysis of Online versus Traditional Teaching of Environmental Literacy Using Participatory Action Research. Ph.D. thesis, Fielding Graduate University. Retrieved September 25, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

For copies of dissertations and theses: (800) 521-0600/(734) 761-4700 or