North American College of Teachers in Agriculture
Virtual (originally planned for Wooster, OH)
Learning Preferences (LP) are considered stable indicators of how students and adults respond to factors of learning in an environment. The environment is interactive with cognitive thought, critical and creative thinking, emotional, physical, and social learning processes. Research farms remain popular for academic and extension faculty use because of the opportunity to share rich experiential teaching opportunities for all ages. Agriculture's connection to human health and environmental quality, and the societal lack of understanding agriculture literacy, exposes the need for enhanced agricultural education efforts. Lincoln University at Jefferson City, Missouri introduced thirty-five (35) incoming agriculture majors, with varying levels of prior knowledge to agriculture, by using experiential methodology. A blind pre- and post-event survey was performed that contained twenty-one (21) prompts using a 5-point Likert scale, regarding introduced topics and disciplines for the day. A paired t-test with probability correction for multiple t-tests was used to analyze the data set. Exposing incoming freshmen to Agriculture Literacy, by using hands-on learning and visual experiences, increased student understanding of agriculture disciplines in Poultry Science, Animal Welfare, Aquaculture, Plants and Soil Science, Environmental Sciences and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS). Additional questions on the post-event survey asked participants to share their favorite activities of the day. The top three activities were all fully involved hands-on activities of the day. These included sorting and weighing sheep, catching chickens, candling eggs, and preparing and testing soil samples. The least favorite activities included more watching and listening which included less hands-on training.