Profiling and comparing participants of online and on-site educational programmes: Case study of the symposium on giant salamander in Hiroshima City Asa Zoological Park, Japan
Keywords:COVID-19, education, online symposium, participants profiling, zoo
One mission of modern zoos is to serve as a facility for environmental education. Evaluation and improvement of zoo educational programmes is an important process in achieving this mission. Understanding participants’ characteristics will help deliver educational messages more effectively and improve programmes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many zoos are exploring the possibility of shifting programmes online; however, profiling reports of participants are limited. This study conducted questionnaire surveys and compared the profiles of participants in a Japanese giant salamander symposium held annually since 2014 at Hiroshima City Asa Zoological Park (Asa Zoo) in Japan. The symposium was held four times on-site, once online and once in hybrid format. The online symposium was attended by significantly more first-time participants from distant locations than the on-site format. Online participants included people who had never visited Asa Zoo and some repeat local visitors. These results indicate that online programmes could grant an alternative option to citizens who seldom visit the zoo. However, solely offering such programmes online could create a participation barrier for local citizens who are unfamiliar with online tools. Online participants preferred to attend repeat programmes using the online format. This outcome suggests that online programmes are less effective in encouraging people to visit the zoo. Thus, the present study reveals online programmes’ ability to attract new educational targets for zoos; however, it also underscores the importance of hosting on-site or hybrid programmes. Online educational programmes must be used and evaluated in light of their objectives and target audiences to further develop zoo-related educational activities.
How to Cite
JZAR fulfils the DOAJ definition of open access and provides free and open access to the full text of all content without delay under a Creative Commons licence. The copyright holder of JZAR publications grants usage rights to third parties, allowing for immediate free access to the work and permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles.