Staff members’ ideas about visitors’ learning at science and technology centers

Staff members’ ideas about visitors’ learning at science and technology centers

Publication Type:
article-journal
Date Issued:
2009
Authors:
Eva Davidsson , Anders Jakobsson
Language:
eng
Page:
129-146
DOI:
10.1080/09500690701649588
Abstract:

This study investigates staff members’ ideas and assumptions about visitors’ learning at science and technology centres. It also aims to explore in what ways their reasoning intersect with existing theories about learning within the field of science and technology centre research. The results of the study reveal that the staff members allude to learning processes differently by distinguishing organized from non-organized learning, theoretical learning from practical hands-on learning, and serious from non-serious learning. According to most of the staff members, these also conclude with different learning outcomes. Further, a majority of the staff members state that they do not have any scientific knowledge about learning despite the fact that they work with the construction of new exhibitions. When discussing visitors’ learning, the staff members instead refer to personal experiences, professional experiences, professional education, and external references. When it comes to how they reason about the natural scientific content, nearly all express that they use references from the natural science community and researchers’ knowledge. The article moreover discusses in what ways a socio-cultural approach may be used in order to understand how learning arises when visitors interact with exhibits.

Keywords:
museums and science centres learning