Chaudhary, A. K., Warner, L. A. & Stofer, K. A. (2017). Online certificate program moves participants to advanced stages of concern for social marketing. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(4) 210-224. https://dot.org/10.5032/jae.2017.04210
Social marketing is an underused strategy that agricultural educators can employ to bring about behavior change. We designed an online certificate program for Extension professionals and other educators based on an identified need for social marketing professional development. The Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) served as the conceptual framework and stages of concern explained changes in concerns among Cultivating Community Change online certificate program participants. The purpose of the study was to describe participants’ stages of concern profile before and after the certificate program and identify how participants’ perceptions changed as a result of involvement in the certificate program. We collected quantitative data using the stages of concern questionnaire and qualitative data from participants’ open-ended discussion answers. Participation in the certificate program moved participants to advanced stages of concerns for application of social marketing in their work. The certificate program helped to broaden participants’ understanding and application of this technique and changed their perceptions positively toward social marketing. We consider the certificate program successful, and we recommend agricultural education professionals use online certificate programs to build Extension professionals’ and other educators’ skills to change behavior of their target audiences.