Broad Implementation: Creating Communities Of Learners For Informal Cognitive Science Education

September 1st, 2011 - August 31st, 2016 | PROJECT

Boston's Museum of Science (MOS), with Harvard as its university research partner, is extending, disseminating, and further evaluating their NSF-funded (DRL-0714706) Living Laboratory model of informal cognitive science education. In this model, early-childhood researchers have both conducted research in the MOS Discovery Center for young children and interacted with visitors during the museum's operating hours about what their research is finding about child development and cognition. Several methods of interacting with adult visitors were designed and evaluated, including the use of "research toys" as exhibits and interpretation materials. Summative evaluation of the original work indicated positive outcomes on all targeted audiences - adults with young children, museum educators, and researchers. The project is now broadening the implementation of the model by establishing three additional museum Hub Sites, each with university partners - Maryland Science Center (with Johns Hopkins), Madison Children's Museum (with University of Wisconsin, Madison), and Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (with Lewis & Clark College). The audiences continue to include researchers (including graduate and undergraduate students); museum educators; and adults with children visiting the museums. Deliverables consist of: (1) establishment of the Living Lab model at the Hub sites and continued improvement of the MOS site, (2) a virtual Hub portal for the four sites and others around the country, (3) tool-kit resources for both museums and scientists, and (4) professional symposia at all sites. Intended outcomes are: (1) improve museum educators' and museum visiting adults' understanding of cognitive/developmental psychology and research and its application to raising their children, (2) improve researchers' ability to communicate with the public and to conduct their research at the museums, and (3) increase interest in, knowledge about, and application of this model throughout the museum community and grow a network of such collaborations.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products
National Living Lab Broad Implementation, Year 1: Creating Communities of Learners for Informal Cognitive Science Education Formative Evaluation Report
National Living Lab Presentation
Creating Communities of Learners for Informal Cognitive Science Education poster
Poster: National Living Laboratory Year 3
Living Laboratory - Formative Evaluation Tools and Protocols
2016 Poster - National Living Laboratory: Creating Communities of Learners for Informal Cognitive Science Education
National Living Laboratory: Creating Communities of Learners for Informal Cognitive Science Education [Summative Evaluation Report]

Team Members

Becki Kipling, Principal Investigator, Museum of Science, Boston
Marta Biarnes, Co-Principal Investigator, Museum of Science, Boston
Anna Lindgren-Streicher, Evaluator, Museum of Science, Boston
Clara Cahill, Evaluator, Museum of Science, Boston
Catherine Lussenhop, Evaluator, Museum of Science, Boston


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 1113648
Funding Amount: $2,995,325


Audience: Adults | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Families | Learning Researchers | Museum | ISE Professionals | Parents | Caregivers | Pre-K Children (0-5) | Scientists
Discipline: Education and learning science | Nature of science | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Higher Education Programs | Informal | Formal Connections | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Professional Development and Workshops | Public Programs | Resource Centers and Networks