Informal Learning

International Handbook of Research on Environmental Education

Heimlich, J.E., Mony, P., Yocco, V.S. (2014)

Chapter 27: Belief to Behavior: A Vital Link

The authors note that we all hold beliefs about the environment and specific environmental issues. Researching beliefs, then, is important but very difficult because they "exist in the complex realities of an individual's life." Research into attitudes and beliefs has been central to environmental education for decades. Over the years, a number of instruments have been devised to measure people's opinions about a range of topics. This type of research has its critics as is pointed out in the first two chapters of this section. What Heimlich et al. do is to show how research in this area has developed and how researchers have addressed the complexity of the issues involved. The shift toward seeing learners and learning as individual and personal identified in Lundholm et al.'s chapter finds an echo in the writing of Heimlich and his coauthors when they write: "Thus, some researchers believe that understanding concern, caring, empathy, or stewardship may reveal the affect support and belief systems that can be actuated within individuals."

Factors Contributing to Amateur Astronomers’ Involvement in Education and Public Outreach - Astronomy Education Review

Yocco, V.S., Jones, E.C., Storksdieck, M. (2012)


Amateur astronomers play a critical role engaging the general public in astronomy. The role of the individual and club-relate factors is explored using data from two surveys (Survey 1 N = 1143; Survey 2 N = 1242) of amateur astronomers. Analysis suggests that formal or informal training in astronomy, age, club membership, length of club membership, and participation in club service are factors that contribute to the likelihood of an amateur engaging in education and public outreach. Sex (mail or female) and club service were found to influence the level of outreach amateurs engage in. Interventions designed to increase amateur involvement in education and public outreach should consider these factors.

Measuring Public Value: An Instrument and an Art Museum Case Study - Visitor Studies

Yocco, V.S., Heimlich, J.E, Meyer, E., & Edwards, P. (2009)


Using Carol Scott's (2006) discussion of museum impact as a frame, a survey instrument was created to measure the value perceived by a community toward an art museum. The survey was administered at a local community arts festival. A factor analysis revealed that 18 out of 19 items used in the survey aligned with the 3 hypothesized areas of value: individual, societal, and economic. Results of the survey suggest that both recent and recent non-visitors of the museum find similar levels of value in having the museum exist in the community. Across the board, the economic items received the lowest score. Female participants gave significantly higher scores than males. Recommendations include marketing messages that highlight the perceived values expressed in the survey, and further investigation as to how to increase the value perceived by males in the community.