Introducing the Building Informal Science Education Blog Series

Within the field of evaluation, there are a limited number of places where evaluators can share their reports. We are fortunate that one such resource exists in the informal learning community − provides evaluators access to a rich collection of reports they can use to inform their practice and learn about a wide … Read more

Navigating the complexities of research on human subjects in informal settings

Over the past decade, there has been increased interest in the details and depth of visitors’ experiences in informal educational settings. National Science Foundation (NSF) and other agencies have funded research projects studying visitors in museums, zoos, aquaria and parks. Evaluation studies, as well, now more often examine visitor behavior and attitudes, rather than just … Read more

Summit on Assessment of Informal and Afterschool Science Learning

The Board on Science Education at the National Academies, in cooperation with the Harvard Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency, recently convened a Summit on Assessment of Informal and Afterschool Science Learning in Irvine, CA. Summit participants were invited to isolate gaps in the informal science assessment field, strategize ways to work together as a … Read more

Paying More Attention to Paying Attention

Edited July 8, 2016. Download a PDF copy of this article. Attention is a scarce resource—perhaps the most precious scarce resource there is. – Csikszentmihalyi and Hermanson, “Intrinsic Motivation in Museums: What Makes Visitors Want to Learn?” Introduction In 1998 I wrote Paying Attention: Visitors and Museum Exhibitions, a book supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) … Read more