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Tina M. Waliczek, Kathryn M. Parsley, Paula S. Williamson, and Florence M. Oxley

Negative impacts from invasive species present a global problem. Consequently, invasive species biology has emerged as an important subdiscipline of conservation biology. One of the goals of invasive species biology is to educate the public about impacts and potential control of invasive species. The purpose of this study was to determine if a lecture, a lecture and laboratory learning model, or both influence college student learning gains and whether increase in knowledge results in changes in attitudes about invasive species. A pre- and posttest instrument that measured knowledge and attitudes of invasive species was administered to several different classes of students at a university and community college. One group of students received a lecture and laboratory curriculum between the pre- and posttest (the lecture and laboratory treatment group). A second group of students received a lecture between the pre- and posttest (the lecture-only treatment group) and a third group received no instruction between tests (the control group). The lecture was in the form of an electronic presentation, whereas the laboratory curriculum included a case study, a visual aid, and a scavenger hunt to educate students about examples of invasive plant and animal species. In all classes and groups, there were at least 2 weeks between administering the pre- and posttest. Results showed that the control group scores were not different between the pre- and posttest. However, both the lecture-only and the lecture and laboratory treatment groups had scores that changed after receiving the curricula. In addition, there was an effect of curricula on student learning for the three conditions. The differences between the group that received no curricula vs. the two that did indicated that the curricula were effective teaching interventions to help students become more educated about invasive species.