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Learning theory and environments

How do young people learn? How can youth programs best facilitate learning? Researchers and practitioners have contributed to an array of knowledge about how to maximize outcomes, with positive youth development as a core philosophy.

Comments on this page? Curator: Jessica Russo, Extension educator

Youth Development Insight

Our faculty blog about research, issues and trends in the field. Join the conversation!


See all learning theory and environments blog posts.

Reports & journal articles

Academic Achievement of Youth in the 4-H Program

Produced by Extension: K. Piescher, S. Hong, Dale Blyth, Pamela Nippolt
The purpose of this study was to examine academic outcomes of youth who participated in Minnesota's 4-H program compared to those who did not, and to understand how parent engagement and duration of 4-H participation affects youth achievement and attendance trajectories over five years. (PDF) 2014.

Exploring the Dynamics of Power in Professionalizing Afterschool

Produced by Extension: Deborah Moore
Prevailing narrative in the afterschool literature is premised on the idea that becoming a profession is required to build and sustain the field. Current strategies to professionalize do not reflect the complex and diverse nature of the work. This article uses critical theory to explore the imbalance of power in current discussions. 2013.

Rings of Engagement

Produced by Extension Center for Youth Development
Research brief on youth engagement framework that includes Participation, Passion, Youth Voice, and Collective Leadership. (PDF) 2010.

Once we know it, we can grow it

Summary version

Produced by Extension: Joyce Walker, Cecilia Gran, Deborah Moore
A white paper on how quality matters in multiple dimensions of nonformal learning in the nonschool hours. (PDF) 2009.

Promoting Participation of Older Youth in Out-of-School Time Programs and Opportunities

Produced by Extension: Rebecca N. Saito
Research focusing attention on the need for engagement of under-represented and under-served teen-agers, 13 years of age and older, in engaging and beneficial programs and opportunities that help them thrive. (PDF) 2009.
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