Wednesday, July 28, 2010

HOORC seminar series: Communicating environmental information in the public sphere: Visualized and verbal communication approaches

In his presentation at the HOORC Seminar Series, Dr. O. T. Thakadu stated that the purpose of his study was to compare the effectiveness of two public instructional communication methods, i.e (visualized and the traditional verbal methods) on people’s knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and intention in the sharing of environmental knowledge. He highlighted the importance of translating science research into a language easily understood by the lay person, especially decision-makers, and how this understanding ultimately influences social behaviour, management and policy. The focus of his study was primarily based on sharing environmental information that would help protect the environment, targeting CBNRM board members in community areas in the Okavango Delta, Botswana as environmental agencies often use these structures to disseminate information to the broader communities. The study found that neither of the two methods was better than the other in terms of impacting predictors of knowledge sharing behaviours. Furthermore, it also found that the participants had more favourable attitudes or preference for the visualized method over the traditional verbal approaches. Factors such as positional hierarchy, gender, and age were identified as playing a role in people’s knowledge sharing beliefs and intentions. The importance of undertaking knowledge sharing capacity needs assessments, skills training in areas such as self-efficacy and public speaking, and promoting cultural conceptual change and civic responsibility among target knowledge dissemination agents was highlighted. Ensuring that these areas are addressed among information diffusion agents may help promote effective environmental knowledge dissemination among communities, and hopefully influence responsible environmental behaviours.

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