Michael W. Everett, M. W., & Raven, M. R. (2018). Measuring optimal experiences of CANR undergraduates in a leadership course. Journal of Agricultural Education, 59(1), 35-50. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2018.01035
Many universities integrate leadership as a core component of agricultural education. Interestingly, little research has been conducted on the impact of leadership courses comparing the perceived leadership skills and abilities of students with and without prior leadership experience. Socio-psychological measures of flow or optimal experience during an undergraduate leadership course were used to compare and contrast sample groups within course teaching techniques. Flow theory was used to compare and contrast: 1) Student demographics in an undergraduate leadership course, 2) students with various leadership experiences, and 3) optimal experiences and leadership experiences using different teaching techniques. Results indicated that overall, students within an undergraduate leadership course are more likely to have optimal experiences during experiential learning activities and reflecting on learning. Similar results exist with undergraduate leadership students having prior leadership experience (non-FFA) and FFA experience. This research suggests that utilizing experiential learning activities in classroom learning and reflecting on those experiences may have the highest potential for producing optimal experiences in the context of undergraduate leadership education. Finally, using the experience sampling method to compare and contrast prior leadership, optimal experiences, and teaching approaches has merit and expands the suite of instruments available to understand undergraduate leadership experiences and learning.