Applying Agnotology-Based Learning in a Mooc to Counter Climate Misconceptions

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 11:35 AM
John Cook, Skeptical Science, Brisbane, Australia; Global Change Institute, St Lucia, Australia
A key challenge facing educators and climate communicators is the wide array of misconceptions about climate science, often fostered by misinformation. A number of myths interfere with a sound understanding of the science, with key myths moderating public support for mitigation policies. An effective way to reduce the influence of misinformation is through agnotology-based learning. Agnotology is the study of ignorance while agnotology-based learning teaches students through the direct addressing of myths and misconceptions. This approach of “refutational teaching” is being applied in a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) currently being developed by Skeptical Science and The University of Queensland, in collaboration with universities in Canada, USA and the UK. The MOOC will examine the science of climate change denial. Why is the issue so controversial given there is an overwhelming consensus on human-caused global warming? How do climate myths distort the science? What can scientists and laypeople do in response to misinformation? The MOOC will be released on the EdX platform in early 2015. I will summarise the research underpinning agnotology-based learning and present the approach taken in the MOOC to be released in early 2015