This paper outline how situated cognition can enhance the experience of DE and ESD by creating deeper learning, engaging participants in more real-world action tasks, making certain complex concepts more accessible through cognitive apprenticeship techniques and by expanding DE and ESD values further into the teaching methods themselves.
From the qualitative data obtained we can see some important insights into particular factors which enhanced and impeded students and teachers during the intervention. Obviously, we must consider that the qualitative focus groups are not the majority of the students, though it did include all teachers. However, due to common issues arising from different student focus groups, we can conclude there is reasonable validity in the factors identified. The operational factors identified are probably the easiest to overcome, were this intervention to run again. The structural factors however, require changes in the post-primary school structures which are beyond the scope of this intervention. The positive learning experiences and positive change in action-orientation among students points toward the important benefits that integrating such DE/ESD topics and methodologies would have at post-primary level.
In conclusion, the case for using situated cognition to integrate DE/ESD into mainstream education is strong for both educational and personal development benefits of the learners, but also from evidence-based research in self-determination theory which indicates high probabilities of creating long-term behavioural changes in learners. There is an opportunity to further develop this proposal with more thorough action research, with a long-term view of integrating these methodologies into the mainstream curriculum.