Sustainability: Promoting Sustainable Decision Making in Informal Education, Professional Development Summative Evaluation

September 1st, 2009 | EVALUATION

Overview of Sustainability Professional Development and Evaluation: As part of the National Science Foundation funded "Sustainability: Promoting Sustainable Decision Making in Informal Education" project, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and its partners developed a professional development website and workshop. The goal of this and other project deliverables was to promote sustainable decision making by building skills that allow participants to weigh their choices and choose more sustainable practices. ExhibitSEED (Exhibit Social Environmental and Economic Development) refers to the professional development website and the Museum Advisory Committee (MAC) workshops created by OMSI during the Sustainability project. ExhibitSEED resources are based on a three pillars approach to sustainability that includes environmental, economic, and social considerations. The website launched in 2012 as a place for exhibit and museum professionals to find resources for developing, designing, and building more sustainable exhibits. The website tools were developed from the perspective of an interactive science museum, but the information is valuable to exhibit professionals in all types of museums. The MAC workshops were conducted at five museums in different regions of the country to provide opportunities for practice using sustainable decision-making skills and the ExhibitSEED tools. The summative study evaluated the exhibition’s achievement of the following impacts: 1. Workshop participants will understand considerations for the development, design, and fabrication of more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable exhibits. 2. Website users will become aware of skills associated with environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable decision making in exhibit development, design, and fabrication. 3. The Green Exhibit Checklist (GEC) will foster skills associated with environmentally responsible decision making in exhibit design and fabrication. The Sustainability project duration was September 2009–April 2015. Portland State University, in collaboration with OMSI, supported many phases of evaluation during the project and led all summative evaluation activities. <br><br>Findings: Methods included 85 post-workshop surveys conducted at the end of each event, 45 delayed post-workshop surveys conducted within 6–8 months of the workshop, and a team debrief conducted after the final workshop with workshop facilitators and planners. Overall, the data indicated successful achievement of the intended impacts and outcomes. Participants in the post-workshop survey gave the MAC Workshop, ExhibitSEED Website or Green Exhibit Checklist high mean ratings in terms of usefulness, relevancy, applicability, effectiveness and likelihood for use of tools. In the post-delayed surveys, many participants also indicated ways the three pillar model impacted their thinking and the effectiveness of the Website tools and information, yet half were still awaiting opportunities to use the Green Exhibit Checklist. Participants in the post-workshop survey rated moderate-to-high their ability to consider each of the three pillars with the highest confidence in environmental considerations and moderately high confidence in social consideration. The debrief session revealed that impressions among workshop attendees were largely positive with highlights including: the chance to network with others in the industry around the sustainability topic, new channels to continue the conversation, and the possibility of additional or longer workshops in the future. Generally, the deliverables achieved the desired impacts. The largest value of exposure to the workshop and tools over time appears to be the integration of sustainability considerations into general thinking and the approach to design and development. While recollection and/or use of some tools diminished over time, the majority of participants reported continued use of the ExhibitSEED website tools and the continued impact of the workshop on their thoughts and decisions around sustainability. Specific recommended actions include the following:1. Continue the conversation.2. Promote more participation and encourage norm development.3. Advance and promote the workshop themes.4. Recognize and respond to regional, industry, and workplace barriers.5. Further evaluate tools and resources.



Team Members

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Contributor
Renee B. Curtis, Co-Principal Investigator, Portland State University


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Amount: 2304377

Related URLs

Sustainability: Promoting Sustainable Decision Making in Informal Education


Audience: Adults | Educators | Teachers | Evaluators | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Technology
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Summative | Survey
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Media and Technology | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Professional Development and Workshops | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media