Environmental Education Outcomes

"Environmental Education Outcomes"online course

  • Course participants have advance online access to new environmental education textbook published by Cornell University Press!

  • Over a thousand participants from 50 countries have taken this popular course.

  • Offers 25 learning hours

This course may be offered again in the future.

Great Value!

Course participants will get free access to the new book "Advancing Environmental Education Practice" published by Cornell University Press 2020.




Is the goal of environmental education to instill pro-environmental behaviors, foster collective environmental action, and/or to develop healthy and productive citizens? Through short pre-recorded lectures, podcasts, readings, social media, and live webinars, this course will help you define your environmental education goals and learn what the research says is the best pathway to achieve them. Topics include environmental behaviors, collective action, knowledge, values, attitudes, nature connectedness, sense of place, identity, self- and political efficacy, norms, social capital, health and well-being, positive youth development, academic achievement, and resilience. Course participants diagram their own theory of change outlining how to reach their environmental education goals. Through this course, you will apply research-based knowledge to start new or enhance existing environmental education programs, strengthen your professional networks by exchanging ideas and resources with peer educators and university students around the world, and gain professional credentials.


Environmental educators, including teachers, nonformal educators, environmental and park managers, zoo and garden educators, volunteers, and university students. Available to students in any country. Lectures are in English with subtitles in English, Chinese, and Spanish.


$60 fee. Most participants pay this fee.

Options available to pay a higher fee ($120) to sponsor another student, or pay a lower or no fee if you are unable to pay or live in areas without internationally accepted payment systems (e.g., Afghanistan, Iran). 


Participants who complete the course are awarded a Cornell University certificate (PDF). Weekly assignments include watching lectures, readings, and discussion questions. Participants are required to participate in a minimum of one course webinar. Required course project is a diagram and short narrative of your theory of change for your current or future environmental education program.

Educational approach

The course is based in three principles: (1) Learning is social: we learn effectively within a social context, thus networking and exchange of ideas among participants is crucial; (2) Learning can lead to innovation: course participants build on the course materials to develop new ideas for environmental education; and (3) Learning can foster practice change: we will apply course content and ideas to real environmental education programs.


The course uses the Edge edX learning management system and optional closed groups on Facebook, QQ, and other social media to facilitate idea and resource exchange. Weekly webinars at 8am Wednesdays use Zoom conferencing software.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Define multiple outcomes for environmental education.

  2. Describe and critically reflect on research about what works and doesn’t work in achieving different environmental education outcomes.

  3. Discuss environmental education outcomes, research, and theories of change with peers.

  4. Diagram and explain a theory of change for your educational program.

Course Instructors and Administrators

  • Marianne Krasny, Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab

  • Alex Kudryavtsev

  • Yue Li

  • Melanie Quinones Santiago (Spanish language coordinator)

  • Kim Snyder (Course Administrator)


5 weeks (4-5 hours of work per week). During the last week, participants will complete and submit a final project.


February 11 – March 17, 2020.

Assignments must be completed no later than March 17, 2020.

Course Email


Course topics overview

  • Environmental education outcomes include individual environmental behavior, collective action, health and well-being, positive youth development, and academic achievement.

  • Factors that help environmental education achieve its goals include efficacy, identity, sense of place, nature connectedness, norms, social capital, action-knowledge, values and attitudes.

  • Environmental educators can apply research and theories of change to determine the best pathways to achieve their goals.

Course Outline

Each week includes 2-4 recorded short lectures, readings, and short assignments. During the course, we will also hold live webinars to allow course participants to hear from experts, ask questions, and discuss ideas with other participants and instructors. 

  • Week 1: Environmental education outcomes overview. We introduce the course and two environmental education outcomes, and participants introduce themselves and their work or studies to each other. Course introduction, Environmental behaviors, Collective environmental action, Theory of change.

  • Week 2: Pathways to collective action. Collective, social or environmental identity, social norms, political efficacy, and social capital are all pathways leading to collective action to address environmental problems. Topics: Identity, Norms, Political efficacy, Social capital.

  • Weeks 3: Environmental behaviors. Self-efficacy, values, identity, norms, action-knowledge, and attitudes are connected to our individual decisions about environmental behaviors. Topics: Self-efficacy, Values, Knowledge, Attitudes.

  • Week 4: Other environmental education outcomes. Some professionals and volunteers conduct environmental education programs to achieve health, youth development, and academic achievement outcomes rather than environmental behavior or collective action. Topics: Health and well-being, Positive youth development, Academic achievement and critical thinking.

  • Week 5: Theory of change. We review program design principles that emerge from studies of environmental education covered in the course. We also present a method for developing your theory of change, which describes your desired program outcomes, intermediate goals needed to reach those outcomes, and related pathways or activities. Participants will develop a final project, which is a diagram and short narrative explaining their theory of change, including program outcomes, intermediate outcomes, and pathways and activities to reach those outcomes.


  1. What is the course email? CivicEcology@cornell.edu (Please write “EEO course” in the subject line.)

  2. Why do you have three types of enrollment for different fees? We are committed to creating equal access to the course materials and to instructor feedback regardless of where a student lives or his/her ability to pay. Students can pay a reduced fee or not pay if they they do not have systems to transfer funds to the U.S. (e.g., Afghanistan, Iran, Somaliland) or because the basic $60 fee is beyond their reach (e.g., economic hardship). Most course participants pay $60, which helps support our online courses. We depend on your course payment, and we are grateful for your support!

  3. If I pay $120, can I link with the student I sponsor? No, we would like to keep who pays and who doesn’t pay anonymous. However, you will be able to connect with students from many different countries through the course social media and EdX Edge platform.

  4. Can I sponsor more than one student? Yes, we would be grateful for your support of other students, especially in developing countries, who otherwise cannot afford paying for this course.

  5. How long is the course? This is an 5-week course with two additional weeks to complete the course project. The course project is a theory of change diagram and narrative for your existing or planned program. If you complete all required course assignments you will receive a Cornell Certificate.

  6. Can I submit the course project in my native language? We strongly encourage you to submit all assignments in English so that instructors and other students can give you feedback. But you can also submit your final project in Chinese or Spanish. We have teaching staff who speak these languages.

  7. How will I receive course certificates? You will receive your course certificate via email within two months after the end of the course.

  8. What social media are used in this course? We use optional Facebook, WhatsApp, and QQ groups – where participants and instructors share ideas and resources. Only course participants can be part of these groups; please do not invite people outside this course.

  9. Can I share course materials with my colleagues and friends? You are NOT allowed to share, copy, distribute, or forward any materials from this course. They are only for your own learning.


  • February 12, 8am – Introduction & theory of change

    • Marianne Krasny, professor, Cornell University

  • February 19, 8am – Collective action.

    • Bethany Jorgensen, PhD candidate, Cornell University

  • February 26, 8am – Sense of place and positive youth development: Rocking the Boat case study.

    • Alex Kudryavtsev, Research Associate, Cornell University

  • March 4, 8am – Identity.

    • Anne Armstrong, PhD candidate, Cornell University

  • March 11, 8am – Final course projects.

    • Marianne Krasny, professor, Cornell University

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