Exploring connections between environmental learning and behavior through four everyday-life case studies

Rachelle K. Gould, Nicole M. Ardoin, Jennifer M. Thomsen, Noelle Wyman Roth

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Decades of research emphasize that information alone rarely influences environmental behavior. We addressed the question of, “what, then, does influence environmental behavior?” by asking more specifically: what factors mediate the relationship between learning about environmentally related issues and engaging in environmentally related behaviors? Following Yin’s case study approach, we designed a California (USA)-based case study focused on four everyday-life activities: purchasing food, commuting, engaging in leisure activities, and interacting with mobile technology. We grounded the study in four propositions that previous sociological, psychological, and learning sciences research suggested might influence learning–behavior connections in complex everyday-life contexts. To address the propositions across the four cases, we conducted 197 short, semi-structured interviews grounded in a narrative, relational frame. Using thematic content analysis, we found support for three of our propositions as mediators of learning–behavior connections; we also uncovered two emergent themes. Our findings suggest a web of elements that affect learning–behavior connections; those elements offer insights for environmentally related programming.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)314-340
    Number of pages27
    JournalEnvironmental Education Research
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Mar 4 2019


    • Community
    • food
    • interpersonal
    • social learning
    • transportation


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