Research in Science Education

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 1347–1365 | Cite as

Evaluating Three Dimensions of Environmental Knowledge and Their Impact on Behaviour

  • Tina BraunEmail author
  • Paul Dierkes


This research evaluates the development of three environmental knowledge dimensions of secondary school students after participation in a singular 1-day outdoor education programme. Applying a cross-national approach, system, action-related and effectiveness knowledge levels of students educated in Germany and Singapore were assessed before and after intervention participation. Correlations between single knowledge dimensions and behaviour changes due to the environmental education intervention were examined. The authors applied a pre-, post- and retention test design and developed a unique multiple-choice instrument. Results indicate significant baseline differences in the prevalence of the different knowledge dimensions between subgroups. Both intervention subsamples showed a low presence of all baseline knowledge dimensions. Action-related knowledge levels were higher than those of system and effectiveness knowledge. Subsample-specific differences in performed pro-environmental behaviour were also significant. Both experimental groups showed significant immediate and sustained knowledge increases in the three dimensions after programme participation. Neither of the two control cohorts showed any significant increase in any knowledge dimension. Effectiveness knowledge improved most. The amount of demonstrated environmental actions increased significantly in both intervention groups. Both control cohorts did not show shifts in environmental behaviour. Yet, only weak correlations between any knowledge dimension and behaviour could be found.


Environmental education Out-of-school learning System knowledge Action-related knowledge Effectiveness knowledge Environmental behaviour 



We wish to thank all the participating students and teachers, and we appreciate the consistent support of Ecofieldtrips Environmental Education, MainÄppelHaus Lohrberg and Fraport-AG during the execution phase.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Bioscience EducationGoethe UniversityFrankfurtGermany

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