Active Learning Effect on the Public's Perception of Anthropogenic Global Climate Change

Ivy Gisselle Trevizo, University of Texas at El Paso


Anthropogenic, or human-caused global climate change has been debated for many years among the public despite the growing evidence that there is scientific consensus on this topic. A gap has been discovered between scientific evidence of increasing temperatures and the public's perception on climate change. This gap has been hypothesized to come from the method in which the scientific community represents scientific evidence. The goal of this study was to determine if active learning techniques around local and regional climate change and climate change impacts changes the awareness, perception, and behavioral intentions of different segments of the public. The study used a quantitative component involving online active learning bounded by pre- and post-surveys. A pre-survey was given to all participants, which included questions on their initial awareness, perceptions, and behavioral intentions regarding global climate change. After individuals explored climate data they were prompted to fill out a post-survey, which revealed how these activities had changed their perception on anthropogenic global climate change. Results were consistent throughout in that there was no statistically significant change in the post-activity scores when providing local climate change impacts in the form of a hands-on activity. No statistically significant correlation was found between the independent variables (gender, ethnicity, political view, and education level) and participants' change in concern from the pre- and post-activity results. The study found that although there was no statistically significant change in concern level for participants based on their political views, participants who associated as conservative had a higher increase in level of concern (36.8%), becoming more alarmed, than liberals who became more alarmed (13.3%). In contrast, more liberals had a decrease in concern (33.3%), becoming less alarmed, than conservatives who became less concerned (21.1%). These results indicate that this curriculum (looking at data for themselves) was useful for increasing concern of AGW of conservatives while decreasing concern of liberals. This method of communicating to the public caused individuals to move away from the extremes of their political view.

Subject Area

Climate Change

Recommended Citation

Trevizo, Ivy Gisselle, "Active Learning Effect on the Public's Perception of Anthropogenic Global Climate Change" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10685375.