Application of learner-based teaching innovations to enhance education in wildlife conservation

Mark R. Ryan, Henry Campa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wildlife conservation professionals will be confronted with increasingly complex problems in the twenty-first century. This professional milieu will require lifelong learning, greatly developed critical thinking ability, and well-honed communications skills, attributes already considered by employers to be deficient in new employees. To enhance the education of wildlife professionals, we review teaching applications that promote learner-based mastery and retention of content knowledge and the development of higher order thinking and process skills (e.g., interpersonal communication). These applications include active learning strategies that create relevancy and better engage students with course material, writing-to-learn to enhance communication skills and promote an active learning atmosphere in classrooms, and case studies and controversies to demonstrate to students how ecological concepts and management principles can be applied to solve complex problems with multiple stakeholders. Drawing on basic premises from cognitive psychology, learner-based education relies on active learning experiences to assist students in building on prior knowledge. New information and problem-solving scenarios are made available to students in relevant contexts to enhance learning. We recommend using learner-based pedagogies in teaching wildlife conservation to better prepare students for careers as natural resource problem-solvers. As educators experiment with learner-based applications within higher education classrooms, professional workshops, or public education venues, their results should be shared through professional publications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-179
Number of pages12
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Active learning
  • Case studies
  • Learner-based pedagogy
  • Teaching
  • Writing-to-learn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


Dive into the research topics of 'Application of learner-based teaching innovations to enhance education in wildlife conservation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this