Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Captive versus noncaptive audiences

One of the biggest differences between audiences is why they are there. A captive audience is required to be there - for a class that will result in a grade or certificate. A noncaptive audience just is there for fun. Don’t ever confuse them when planning, because they call for completely different approaches.

There is a big difference between being a teacher or trainer, and being an interpreter. In a previous post I discussed how interpreters are people who who explain natural or cultural resources for visitors at places like parks, nature centers, museums, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums, and tour companies.

The table shown above was paraphrased from Figure 1-2 of Sam H. Ham’s wonderful 1992 book Environmental Interpretation: A Practical Guide for People with Big Ideas and Small Budgets. You can buy a used copy at Amazon, read the text online at Google Books, or you can download a pdf file of Part 1 here. Sam Ham is professor of communication psychology at the University of Idaho.

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