Using a visual media verification tool embedded in lesson plans can lead to attitude change in fact-checking among young people and improve media literacy skills

Youcheck! experimental project consisted in testing the visual verification plug-in InVID-WeVerify (developed for journalists) among a larger population, with two main targets: the adult public and the teaching/student public. In the four European countries considered (France, Romania, Spain and Sweden), self-tutored adult volunteers filled-in an online questionnaire AND students answered a pre- and post-test before and after a 2-hour class intervention with their teachers.

The general results show that:

  • All participants stated that disinformation is a great challenge and they found the verification plug-in very useful but also complicated to use.
  • Self-tutored adults agreed that the main measures to tackle disinformation should be: development of critical thinking, media regulation, availability of technical tools and improvement of quality of news.
  • Students performed better in visual fact-checking after being taught media verification skills and they improved their performance in detecting misleading images and videos after the class intervention.
  • Students’ attitudes changed significantly after using the plug-in embedded in the media literacy lesson plan. The most recurrent variables showing attitude change about fact-checking among students were:  relying less on “gut feeling” and on “journalist reputation” and relying more on “image design”, “search of source” and “consulting fact-checking websites”.

 Findings could help governments and educators better understand how to use media literacy tools and skills for rapid intervention:

  • Media literacy can be a rapid response strategy for combatting online disinformation.
  • Media literacy is efficient after interventions that sensitize to disinformation risks for democracy and develop self-awareness and critical thinking as to self-bias on credibility of news.
  • Visual literacy tools developed in collaboration with media literacy educators can help raise critical thinking, improve fact-checking skills of the population and resilience against online disinformation.

About the project and partners:

Youcheck! is part of theMedia literacy for all” Programme launched by DG-Connect, European Commission (http://project-youcheck.com/)

The partners are Savoir*Devenir (France), Agence France-Presse (France), National University for Political Studies and Public Administration – SNSPA (Romania), National Distance Education University – UNED (Spain) and Uppsala University (Sweden).

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