Multi-Media Aids and In-Service Training Program for Using Insecticidal Nematodes
Multimedia educational tools concerning the optimal use of insecticidal nematodes were developed for use by Cooperative Extension professionals and end users of insecticidal nematodes. These multimedia tools included an instructional video, a 2.5 x 3 ft poster, slide set, proceedings of a workshop, and a comprehensive web site addressing all aspects of insecticidal nematodes. A 2-day workshop that included classroom, laboratory, and field demonstration sessions was conducted for professionals serving the end users of nematodes in an advisory capacity. Impact of the multimedia tools in training the clientele revealed significant changes in clientele’s knowledge brought about by the educational tools developed under this project.
Assemble insecticidal nematode training and resource materials, including instructional video, companion instructor fact sheets, web site, and a slide set.
Use training and resource materials to educate a multistate cadre of extension personnel who will transfer this knowledge to end users within their home states, and end users in the Northeast Region through training sessions and seminars held at commodity meetings.
Assess the impact of the training program on extension personnel and end users.
Our general approach has been to establish a working committee for producing each educational tool with a clear mandate to produce a quality, peer-reviewed educational tool. These committees included research and extension faculty from the entire country with extensive expertise in insecticidal nematode biology and their pest management fit in the targeted commodities. These committees met several times over the past 2–3 years, produced several drafts, received peer review and input from other specialists, made suggested changes, and produced a final version.
A 30-minute video has been produced in cooperation with Ohio State University. More than 1,600 videos, both in VHS and PAL format, have been distributed to clientele throughout the world (all continents represented) in 38 countries. (Please see appendix 6 in the hard copy report for a listing of countries that received copies of videos.) We have also sent videos to all extension clientele in the U.S. Some states (Texas, Pennsylvania) are granting continuing education credits for pesticide application recertification for viewing the video. The primary clientele groups that received this educational tool are Cooperative Extension Services, university research and extension faculty, and nematode producers and distributors. We have received numerous positive comments on the quality and content of this production. In addition to our traditional clientele, this video has also attracted the attention of high school teachers who would like to use the video to introduce high school students to agriculture and biological control. Please read appendix 6 in the hard copy report for more detailed comments from clients and clientele groups involved.
The poster committee has completed its assignment of producing a 2.5 x 3 ft educational wall poster that provides information on insecticidal nematode life cycle, behavior, ecology, and practicalities of crop protection. To date, 1,250 posters have been distributed to clientele throughout the U.S. and 34 other countries. The clientele groups requesting the poster have been essentially similar to the ones that were requesting the video. One of the limitations in sending posters to all clientele has been the cost of shipping and handling. Again, a number of high schools have requested copies of the poster for use in biology laboratories. Some high school and community college faculty have indicated that they have been using the poster for classroom instruction. Comments from clientele were very favorable, and a summary of these comments is included in appendix 6 in the hard copy report.
A web site, an umbrella that incorporates most aspects of the project, has been completed and now fully operational. The web site (at www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/nematodes/) has received over 42,500 hits since its inception in July 1999. The web site use has exponentially grown over the past few months and currently averages around 3,000 hits a month. Please visit the web site for a description of content. Web site clientele included professionals from over 50 countries from all parts of the world. The web site was evaluated by the National Association of County Agents at their annual meeting. In four out of five categories (content, ease of use, search capability, and feedback), the web site received 100% of total possible points, with a total score of 90%. For more details on clientele comments and information on visits, please read appendix 6 in the hard copy report.
Three fact sheets targeting cranberry, strawberry, and turfgrass have been published. All three fact sheets can be accessed from the nematode web site. In addition, a color hard-copy version of the cranberry fact sheet has been published and distributed to all potential cranberry clientele. The hard copy versions of strawberry and turfgrass fact sheets are in preparation and will be available in the very near future. These fact sheets summarize information on optimal use of insecticidal nematodes for each of the targeted commodities.
A slide set comprising 18 slides that covers many aspects of insecticidal nematode use has been assembled and produced along with descriptions of each slide. Slide set copies have been distributed to attendees of the nematode workshop (see below). A few sets have hard copies have also been sent to the most important clientele in the region.
A proceedings comprising presentations made at the Optimal Use of Insecticidal Nematodes workshop has been edited, compiled, and published for distribution. A copy of these proceedings (over 100 pages) with color prints of the slide set (see above) has been provided to the attendees of the workshop. In addition, we have placed the proceedings on the web at the web sites of both the Department of Entomology, Rutgers University, and our regular web site at OARDC, Wooster, Ohio. We received numerous positive comments on the quality and content of the proceedings. Because of the cost of publication (nearly $15 per book), we were able to print only about 150 copies, primarily for distribution to the attendees of the workshop and a few other selective clientele in other parts of the country. We do not at this time have separate account of hits on our web sites specifically for accessing the proceedings.
A workshop was hosted at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, from August 28–30, 1999. The purpose of this workshop was to provide comprehensive information on insecticidal nematode biology, life history, appropriate choice of nematode species, factors affecting field efficacy, storage and handling, field application methods, etc. to individuals who are in an advisory capacity to end users. The workshop included a classroom session, a hands-on laboratory session, and a field demonstration session. Speakers for this workshop included leading and extension faculty drawn from the entire country.
A workshop announcement was sent to all clientele groups across the country, and it was also advertised on the web and at major professional meetings. About 110 professionals, representing more than 90% of the clientele originally identified in the project proposal, attended this workshop. Clientele from 21 states and from Canada, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Japan attended the workshop. Clientele representation included all facets of the core clientele groups identified in the project proposal. A proceedings comprising most of the presentations at the workshop was compiled, published, and made available to all attendees of the workshop. Participants were also asked to evaluate the value of the workshop. A survey was conducted at the end of workshop to assess the quality and content of the workshop. One hundred percent of the responding attendees indicated that they would recommend that their colleagues attend this workshop. A summary of the workshop evaluation, a full roster of participants, and comments of attendees are included in appendix 6 in the hard copy report.
An impact assessment of the workshop, video, poster, and web site was performed. The objective of this assessment was to document changes in knowledge, attitude, and practice of clientele who attended the workshop or used other educational tools produced by this project. In addition, the usefulness of these educational tools was evaluated. To achieve these objectives, web page statistics were monitored, pre- and post-tests and surveys were given to workshop attendees, and feedback surveys were distributed to users of the educational tools.
Results of the tests and surveys are summarized below with a discussion of the impact of these educational tools on our targeted clientele. A summary of the results of this feedback is included in appendix 6 in the hard copy report. Appendix 7 in the hard copy report provides samples of the pre- and post-tests; pre-, post-, and 1-year post-surveys given to workshop attendees; and feedback surveys distributed to video and poster recipients and web page users.
Overall, this project has produced multimedia educational tools such as a video, poster, slide set, fact sheets, and a web site for use by end users and extension personnel in optimizing the use of insecticidal nematodes. These tools in most cases are the state-of-the-art and probably the best resource anywhere in the world on this subject. The numerous positive comments received in the feedback surveys are testimonial to this achievement (enclosed in appendix 6 in the hard copy report). Please see objective 3 in this section for the impact of these educational tools in training a cadre of extension professionals who are well versed in the use of insecticidal nematodes for pest management. We have therefore delivered 100% and more of what was promised in the original proposal.
We have now completed the assembly of all multimedia tools (video, web site, slides, fact sheets, proceedings) as envisioned in the original proposal. These tools were extensively used at the workshop to train a cadre of extension professionals and other professionals who are in an advisory capacity to end users. These tools will now be used by these educators in turn to educate end users on the most effective use of insecticidal nematodes in managing insect pests.
Workshop: The overall quality of the workshop was evaluated at the conclusion of the workshop. When asked to rate if the workshop achieved its program objectives, if the workshop stimulated interest in the topic area, the workshop's overall content, and the usefulness of the information, 100% of attendees rated all of these categories as excellent or good.
At the beginning of the workshop, participants were given a test that included 13 objective questions regarding the biology and practical use of entomopathogenic nematodes as biological control agents. These questions were designed to test the basic knowledge of participants prior to the training on several aspects of nematode biology and efficacy. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants were tested again. As a result of the training, the overall knowledge of workshop participants increased significantly from 74.5% correct answers to 84.6% ( F’ = 2.61; d.f. = 73, 59; P > 0.0001). An analysis of specific questions on the examinations yielded the following. The ability of participants to enumerate potential targets for entomopathogenic nematodes increased from 69.8% to 93.8% ( F’ = 1.71; d.f. = 72, 59; P > 0.035) as a result of the training. The ability of participants to list why nematodes sometimes fail increased from 69.8% to 94.3% ( F’ = 1.75; d.f. = 72, 59; P> 0.028) as a result of the training. The ability of participants to match nematodes species with an appropriate target host increased from 61% to 72.8%; however, this change was not significant ( F’ = 1.12; d.f. = 73, 59; P > 0.657).
Attitudes of workshop participants regarding the use of biological control agents and nematodes were surveyed three times. Workshop participants were surveyed at the beginning of the workshop, at the conclusion of the workshop, and approximately 1 year following the workshop. Surveys were conducted in the classrooms in the first two cases and electronically via Internet and e-mail in the latter case. Returns rates were close to 100% for the first two studies and stand at about 10% for the last survey at the time of this analysis. Attitudes of participants regarding the viability of biological control agents in general and entomopathogenic nematodes specifically were not changed by the workshop. Belief that biological control and nematodes were effective was high prior to the workshop and remained thereafter. All three surveys revealed that between 89% and 100% of the participants believed that biological control agents and entomopathogenic nematodes were viable tactics all or some of the time.
Changes in practices associated with biological control and the use of entomopathogenic nematodes 1 year following the workshop were also conducted. When surveyed during the workshop, participants believed that their biological control attempts were successful about 84% of the time. One year later they believed their attempts were successful about 92% of the time. When surveyed during the workshop, participants believed that their attempts to use nematodes succeeded about 97% of the time. One year later they believed their attempts were successful about 89% of the time.
Final goals of the 1-year post-workshop survey were to gain insight into how often biological controls were recommended by workshop participants and into how many people were reached by the training activities of former workshop participants. Recall that at the time of this summary only nine participants had responded. At the time of the workshop, participants recommended some form of biological control about 39 times per year. Following the workshop the average number of recommendations made by each individual per year was about 69. At the time of the workshop, participants recommended insect parasitic nematodes about seven times per year. Following the workshop the average number of recommendations made by each individual per year was about nine. At the time of the workshop, participants provided training on some aspect of biological control about eight times per year. Following the workshop the average number of training sessions for each individual per year was about 14. At the time of the workshop, participants provided training on insect parasitic nematodes about three times per year. Following the workshop the average number of training sessions for each individual per year was about nine.
The number of people contacted by these trainers was staggering. The average number of people directly receiving information on some aspect of biological control was 1,680 per year, and the average number of people indirectly receiving information on biological control through media sources such as radio, newspapers, etc. was estimated at 54,000 per year. The average number of people directly receiving information on insect parasitic nematodes was 630 per year, and the average number of people indirectly receiving information on biological control through media sources such as radio, newspapers, etc. was estimated at 6,000 per year.
Video: A sample audience of 300 recipients of the insect parasitic nematode video was contacted through e-mail and asked to complete a survey regarding their use of the video. Fifty recipients responded to the survey. The primary use of the video, 60% of the listed uses, was as an educational tool to aid in classroom teaching, to train end users such as growers, to train pesticide applicators for recertification credits, and to train agency and corporate employees. On average recipients used the video as a source of information for training four times per year, and the average number of people trained with this information was 146 people per educator. The remaining 40% of the recipients used the video as a source of information for individual edification. If estimates of this population sample are accurate, approximately 140,000 people received training during the past year that included information from the nematode video.
Regarding changes in knowledge brought about by use of the video, 89% of recipients believed their knowledge had improved by using the video. Seven percent believed that their knowledge was unchanged, and 4% did not respond. After viewing the video, 83% believed that they were more likely to use, recommend, or teach about insect parasitic nematodes, 11% said they were no more likely to do so, and 5% did not respond.
Recipients of the video deemed the quality to be high. Ninety-eight percent said the video met their needs by providing the information they required, while 2% did not respond. In rating the overall quality of the video compared to other similar videos, 94% of the recipients rated the insect parasitic nematode video as good or excellent, and 6% rated it as fair or average.
Poster: A sample audience of 180 recipients of the insect parasitic nematode poster was contacted through conventional mail and asked to complete a survey regarding their use of the poster. Fifty-six recipients responded to the survey. The most common use of the poster was as a source of information, used by 66% of the recipients. Seventeen percent of the recipients used the poster as a classroom teaching aid, and 12% used the poster to train end users of in-house personnel at businesses or agencies. The remaining recipients did not respond or used the poster for another purpose. Approximately 60% of the recipients used the poster as a source of information for training annually, and the average number of people trained with this information was 50 people per educator. If estimates of this population sample are accurate, approximately 37,000 people received training during the past year that included information from the nematode poster.
Regarding changes in knowledge brought about by use of the poster, 91% of recipients believed their knowledge had improved by using the poster. Nine percent believed that their knowledge was unchanged. After viewing the poster, 81% believed that they were more likely to use, recommend, or teach about insect parasitic nematodes, 13% said they were no more likely to do so, and 6% did not respond.
Recipients of the poster deemed the quality to be extremely high. Ninety-nine percent said the poster met their needs by providing the information they required, while 1% did not respond. In rating the overall quality of the poster compared to other similar ones, 96% of the recipients rated the insect parasitic nematode video as good or excellent, and 4% did not respond.
Impacts and potential contributions
Overall, the educational tools produced from this project increased knowledge on insect parasitic nematodes of our clientele. However, workshop attendees' attitudes regarding biological control and the use of nematodes were already quite high, and therefore we did not make an impact on these attitudes. Moreover, this assessment indicates a positive change in practice relating to the use, recommendations, and training on biological control and insect parasitic nematodes. The results of this impact assessment strongly suggest that this project brings us closer to our goal of 75% implementation of IPM and sustainable agricultural systems.