The Impact of a Pilot Television Show "Lost in Loop" on Kids' Knowledge of Science Concepts

Friday, January 1, 2010
Resource Type:
Formative | Evaluation Reports
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Broadcast Media
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Families | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Ecology, forestry, and agriculture | Education and learning science
Concord Evaluation Group, WGBH

LOOP is a new animated television series from WGBH for children that is designed to improve the environmental and scientific literacy of children ages 5-8. WGBH developed a pilot episode of the program and tested it in the fall of 2010. WGBH hired independent evaluator Concord Evaluation Group, LLC (CEG) to conduct formative evaluation of the full pilot episode including the 25-minute animatic and the live-action video to assess the impact of LOOP on kids' knowledge of environmental science concepts. CEG performed an experimental study specifically a posttest-only control group design to explore the following hypothesis: Kids who view the LOOP animatic will demonstrate significantly better knowledge about specific science concepts than kids who do not view the animatic. This study provided evidence that the LOOP episode had a significant and positive impact on kids' ability to learn about science concepts. CEG found that kids who viewed the LOOP pilot episode demonstrated significantly better knowledge about specific science concepts than kids who did not. Kids who had watched the animatic were significantly more likely to report that there was water in the desert than kids who had not watched the pilot (75% vs. 34%); were able to describe what an oasis was (53% vs, 23%); and understood that water can be found underground (53% vs. 11%) or in an oasis (31% vs. 0%). Moreover, 82% of the kids in the study reported that the episode helped them learn that water is important. In addition to reporting that LOOP achieved its science content objectives, CEG found that LOOP was universally appealing across both genders, all races and ethnicities, all age groups, and all socioeconomic backgrounds, geographic regions, and settings (e.g., urban, suburban, rural): 91% reported that they liked watching the show. These evaluation findings, combined with the findings from the front-end needs assessment conducted for LOOP (also by CEG), helped solidify WGBH's goals and design for LOOP: LOOP's design and deliverables should expose children to ecosystems that are far away and close to home; parallels should be drawn between the familiar and the unfamiliar for example, all plants need water whether they live in a desert or in one's backyard; the project should demonstrate the interconnectedness of all living things by getting kids outdoors, investigating their own neighborhoods; ultimately, the project should show kids how to think more deeply and creatively about the world they live in, and to make choices based on what they discover.

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