Targeted Interpretation: Exploring relationships among visitors’ motivations, activities, attitudes, information needs and preferences. Roy Ballantyne Jan Packer and Elizabeth Beckmann

pg 14 – Recent research in the field of interpretation has emphasised the importance of understanding visitors’ needs, motivations, prior
knowledge, attitudes and beliefs in relation to an interpretive site or experience (Ballantyne, in press; Beckmann, 1988, 1991; Beckmann &
Huxtable, 1989; Cheatley, 1994; Christensen, 1994; Ham & Krumpe, 1996; Masberg & Savige, 1996; Negra & Manning, 1997). Such
informat ion, it is suggested, can enhance the effectiveness of interpretation by enabling specific visitor needs and characteristics to
be targeted and addressed. Theories of learning suggest that individuals more readily pay attention to, and learn from messages in
which they can find some personal meaning through direct or indirect connections with their own life experience (Ballantyne & Packer,
1996). This ‘reaching out’ becomes even more important in the informal settings of most outdoor recreation and heritage sites, where
any learning is completely dependent on the initial ability of the interpretive experience or exhibit to attract and hold its audience.


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