Energy Conservation Training

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Goals and feedback are important but instructions and training are sometimes unavoidable especially when new machines have to be operated, functions of change processes be mastered or new behaviors and skills learned. A method that is one of the most effective training methods is behavior modeling [42]. Behavior modeling, based on Bandura's learning theory (1977), focuses on providing examples of recommended behavior. It has been extensively shown that behavior examples will be followed if certain facts are considered. The behavior itself has to be understandable and executable for the specific person, it also should be relevant, meaningful and at best rewarding (in terms of positive results). This means that a behavior modeling training also contains information processes, goal setting, rehearsal (the actual training) as well as feedback, which are methods already used in this energy awareness program. The complexity of behavior modeling requires careful planning and execution following the steps below in this example process of behavior modeling training:

• Introduction to the subject.

• Development of learning objectives/goals.

• Film presentation of the model behavior (positive and negative example).

• Group discussion about the effectiveness of the model behavior.

• Role play to practice the behavior.

At first, it is important to introduce and make the relevant subject understandable as well as comprehensible, just like through energy information events (see Section 3.3.2.1) for example, with a celebrity pointing out the impact of the issue. However, the number of listeners or participants in the behavior modeling training should not exceed a regular workshop group. Further, goals and learning objectives for the training session have to be set or at best established with the participants together before actual behaviors to be modeled can be shown. The presentation should include the desired behavior patterns but also give examples on how not to act. The contrast between the favorite performance and maybe even more than one undesired approach, increases comprehension and specifies what is wanted. However, this does not make a thorough discussion on the effectiveness of the modeled behavior dispensable. Following, role play and feedback are used to train the specific behavior as much as necessary. This guided training in workshops or (computer) simulations, in the case of complex or high risk tasks (e.g., chemical production processes, plane flights, etc), could be replaced or enhanced with real life trials such as work on machines or other energy relevant processes.

For example Winett et al. -48] used a film presented via cable TV and information booklets containing cartoons to model energy conservation behavior. The visual material depicted various energy saving measures to be copied by middle-class homeowners. In comparison to the control group, the TV modeling group significantly reduced energy use by 10% and enhanced their knowledge about the issue.

A rather unusual but very effective demonstration project on the importance of modeling for energy conservation was conducted by Aronson and O' Leary [49], observing shower-taking behavior in a university field house. The installation of a large sign in the middle of the men' s shower room instructing them to turn off water while soaping, resulted in 6 to 19% of people following the request. When the researcher used a student to model the desired behavior, the adoption of the desired action, to turn off water to soap up, increased to 49%. Within the experimental condition of two people simultaneously modeling the behavior, compliance rose to an incredible 67%.

The effectiveness of behavior modeling for energy conservation has been shown through many studies (e.g., [48, 49, 50], . At best, the desired practices are presented by people in similar situations as the participants of the program so that they can identify themselves with the model and the behavior to reach the highest outcome [ 51], However the specifics of the programs (e.g., the medium used) depend much on the circumstances and the subject to be trained. Just as the example of Winett et al. [48] shows, films, and also prompts or simulations, are suited to initiate behavior modeling.

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