Enhancing Informal Learning Through Citizen Science
Citizen involvement in science is part of a long history of the role of the amateur in science. Research in the USA and UK suggests that citizen science has a powerful potential to support participation in and the learning of science. Increasing research has sought to explore and measure the development of 'science literacy', science identity and learning outcomes through citizen science. The scale, focus, and organization of projects has been demonstrated to influence who participates in them, the scientific achievements, and what volunteers learn. This Science Learning+ project seeks to build upon and extend the existing work in three significant ways: (1) extend the range of contexts through which existing frameworks and instruments are used and evaluated, in particular, projects that involve families, (2) examine not only the learning outcomes of citizen science projects, but also the processes through which that learning occurs and its contribution to the building of science capital. This will help in establishing better understanding of not only what is learnt but also how learning occurs; (3) develop a better theory of informal science learning through citizen science. This will advance knowledge in informal science learning.