For years, we’ve had a hunch that the World Climate Exercise delivers deep learning about climate change and often motivates participants to action. Now, thanks to support from the US National Science Foundation, we have data that show just how effective this experiential learning tool is.
Here are three key findings from our research conducted by UMass Lowell’s Climate Change Initiative (Dr. Juliette Rooney-Varga), Climate Interactive, and our independent evaluator (Dr. Kenneth Rath):
- World Climate is education for action – 85% of respondents said that their World Climate experience increased their motivation to take action on climate change (out of those who were not already highly motivated).
- People remember their World Climate experience for a long time – 89% of the survey respondents remembered World Climate, as well as the key insights they gained from it, one to four years later.
- World Climate delivers key systems thinking insights – from the complexity and inter-relatedness of the climate system and human decision-making, to the behavior of the atmospheric stock of carbon dioxide in response to emissions.
These results were drawn from research that took several approaches, including:
- A study comparing learning outcomes from conventional pedagogical approaches to teaching climate change (e.g., lecture, reading assignments, and discussion) vs. the World Climate Exercise
- Assessment of the long-term (nine months to four years) learning impacts of World Climate
- Comparison of survey results before and after students experience World Climate
- Coding of open-ended reflection questions about participants’ experiences
- Focus groups with participants.
We will be explaining the methods and results of our work in more detail in several forthcoming manuscripts.
To learn more about the case for integrating climate change into curriculum and why it can be so difficult to understand and teach check out this video:
If you are interested in leading the World Climate Exercise, please join us in the World Climate Project, which is disseminating this tool to people worldwide ahead of the COP21 Paris climate change negotiations.
Get involved in our evaluation effort: http://climate-change-initiative.org/research/join-our-world-climate-project-research-effort