Abstract for: World Climate: Can role-play with interactive models enhance climate knowledge, affect and intent to act?
There is an urgent need for educational tools that offer scientifically rigorous information while motivating action on climate change. However, research shows that showing people research is not effective. In response, simulations have been proposed to enable people to learn for themselves about the risks of climate change and opportunities to mitigate them1. Here we assess the impact of a simulation-based role-playing exercise, World Climate. Participants play the role of delegates to global climate negotiations, learning through an interactive experience in which they explore the climate system through the C-ROADS climate model2,3, while experiencing the social dynamics of policy-making through role-play. Pre- and post-survey results from World Climate sessions around the world showed significant gains in climate change knowledge, affective engagement, intent to take action, and desire to learn. Path analysis showed feedback between gains in affective engagement, particularly a sense of urgency, and gains in knowledge about climate change. Gains in urgency, but not knowledge, were associated with gains in intent to act and learn more. Our results indicate that World Climate offers a climate change communication tool that enables people to learn and feel for themselves, which together have the potential to motivate action informed by science.