Beyond the X-Ray Exhibition Summative Evaluation

April 1st, 2008 | EVALUATION

This evaluation study was conducted to examine the effectiveness of two design strategies used in Beyond the X-Ray: personal stories which were a part of the Five Windows on the Body and a separate kid area which was implemented in Kid Radiology. Evaluation Questions: 1. How do visitors interact with and use the exhibits in Beyond the X-Ray that were created with the instructional design strategies that are the focus of this evaluation? 2. In what ways, if any, are the exhibits that are designed with the targeted strategies effective at achieving their stated goals? 3. What are the visitors' perceptions of the value/effectiveness of the chosen instructional design strategies? The Five Windows on the Body consist of a series of five panels about CT scan, X-Ray, Ultrasound, MRI, and PET scan. Each panel contained text labels about the technology, an audio label, a short video, and a story about a patient's experience with the technology. For the study of the Five Windows on the Body, visitors 13 years of age and older were timed and tracked as they used the exhibits and a portion of the participants took part in an exit interview. In addition, 31 visitor groups were cued to use panels chosen by the evaluator in order to learn more about what visitors would learn from and feel about a panel if they had an in-depth experience. Five Windows on the Body Findings: 1. Visitors use the panels more thoroughly now than they did in the previous evaluation study when there were no patient stories and the text on the panels was longer. 2. Visitors seem to be learning more about the imaging technologies than about the experiences of patients from the panels. 3. Visitors, who listen to the patient stories, value them because they add a personal perspective to the panels. Implications for Future Use of Personal Stories: 1. Personal stories can be used to give a personal voice to an impersonal technology. 2. Personal stories can be used to provide a point of view other than the typical scientist or engineer point of view. 3. Personal stories cannot be expected to be the sole tool for conveying important goals and messages because they will not be used by everyone. The Kid Radiology area consists of four exhibits designed for children between the ages of 5 and 8. Those exhibits are Mystery X-Ray, Animal X-Ray, Reading Table, and Skeleton Puzzle. For the study of Kid Radiology, visitors between the ages of 5 and 9 were tracked using the exhibits. A subset of these children was then interviewed as were some children who were not timed and tracked. In addition, the parents or guardians of the interviewed children were surveyed. Finally, all the groups who visited the Kid Radiology area over a three-hour period were tracked in order to understand who was using the space. Kid Radiology Findings: 1. Children, who visit the Kid Radiology area, spend some of their time using the area without an adult. 2. Both children and adults feel that the Kid Radiology area is for everyone and not just kids. 3. Visitors to the Kid Radiology area report learning about X-Rays and what the insides of animals and other objects look like. Implications for Future Use of Separate Kid Exhibit Areas: 1. Separate kid areas will allow adults to spend some time apart from their children. 2. If made robustly, separate kid areas can contain activities that are also appropriate for adults. 3. Separate areas for children may not be appropriate for very young children because adults will not feel comfortable leaving their children. The appendix of this report includes the tracking and timing instruments, interview protocol, and survey used in the study.



Team Members

Elizabeth Kollmann, Evaluator, Museum of Science


Audience: Adults | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Pre-K Children (0-5)
Discipline: Education and learning science | Health and medicine | Life science | Technology
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Interview Protocol | Observation Protocol | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Summative | Survey
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits