How to sustainably increase students’ willingness to protect pollinators

How to sustainably increase students’ willingness to protect pollinators

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Mona L. Schönfelder & Franz X. Bogner

Pages: 1-13 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2017.1283486


The current loss of biodiversity requires efforts to increase awareness of pollinator conservation. An important tool is education which often uses the honeybee (Apis mellifera) as an exemplary organism to reach this goal. Any successful module needs to focus on reducing the perceived danger associated with fear, in order to support the willingness to protect them. Using a quasi-experimental design, we investigated the effectiveness of two educational approaches: one by authentically encountering living animals at a beehive, the other by using a remote online beehive. We monitored secondary school students’ (N = 354) perception of bees with respect to interest, danger and conservation as well as situational emotions (interest, well-being, boredom) during both interventions. In both cases positive effects on perception levels were observed, even when already a high willingness to protect bees existed. Using living animals in educational settings is crucial, especially when students’ situational emotions need targeting. However, we achieved similar intervention results in perception levels using a remote beehive, which therefore constitutes an excellent alternative to raise awareness of the conservation of bees as pollinators when working with living organisms is not possible.

Keywords: eLearning, honeybees, living animals, perceived danger, situational emotions, student-centred



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