The effect of visitor motivation on the success of environmental education at the Toronto Zoo

Research
TitleThe effect of visitor motivation on the success of environmental education at the Toronto Zoo
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsSchultz, JGW, Joordens, S
JournalEnvironmental Education Research
Volume20
Issue6
Pagination753 - 775
Date Published2014/11/02/
ISBN Number1350-4622
Keywordsconservation, environmental education, evaluation, identity, motivation, Toronto Zoo
AbstractWith the number and scope of environmental challenges continuing to increase, an understanding of the effectiveness of conservation programs is essential in order to allocate limited resources. This paper examines the effectiveness of environmental education within a zoo setting, focusing on the role of learners’ identity-related motivation. Results from survey (n = 296) and interview (n = 116) data collected from visitors to the Toronto Zoo suggest that education success is dependent on visitors’ dominant motivation, with preliminary data suggesting that Spiritual Pilgrims and Experience Seekers demonstrate greater gains in knowledge of environmental issues compared with Facilitators. Given that most zoo visitors fell into this Facilitator group, this finding may have an effect on future zoo management decisions. In addition, the proportion of visitors falling into each motivation group was significantly different than those previously found in the United States (p = 0.05), suggesting that zoo education strategies developed internationally may not be directly transferable to the Toronto Zoo.
URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2013.843646