In 2017 the post-course impacts of Living Smart were researched to test the durability of behaviour change. Murdoch University Sustainability students in partnership with Living Smart conducted a story-based evaluation of past-participants from metropolitan and regional Living Smart courses 2 to 3 years after their courses.
The findings were gathered via long interviews on the phone by the students using a survey with principally open questions formulated by Living Smart. The data was then analysed using the Performance Story Reporting methodology, with integrated data analysis and review by an Expert Panel. The full report of this evaluation was prepared by student Julie Morrissey.
There was a weight of evidence from surveyed participants demonstrating satisfaction with their Living Smart experience and a desire for a follow-on course to re-motivate and help navigate through the many barriers in society to sustainable behaviour. 64 rich stories of complex change were gathered. They showed the establishment and maintenance of sustainable behaviour change for over 2 years post-course. Behaviour change was most pronounced in area of waste, with 56% of surveyed participants indicating the course had led to post course actions in waste reduction.
“The results ….showed significant evidence that (these) past participants have maintained a number of sustainability habits they developed through the course. Participants’ ongoing sustainability behaviour change was not only successful; it proliferated from one area of sustainability to another.”
In 2018 Adelaide and Mount Lofty Natural Resources commissioned Harrison Research to conduct twenty five telephone interviews with participants. This research was undertaken in 2018 with participants who had completed courses twelve months prior (2017).
76% participants took some action immediately after the event and 52% made some change later, in the weeks and months following. The most common actions were growing their own food, reducing waste, recycling, sharing with others and joining a group/volunteering. Once motivated to undertake a behaviour, most participants (74%) did not face any difficulties.