A Design-Based Research Study of Staff-Facilitated Family Learning at Interactive Math Exhibits

December 18th, 2017 | RESEARCH

Staff facilitators in museums and science centers are a critical but often overlooked component of the visitor experience. Despite assertions about the important role they play in visitor learning, there continues to be almost no research to understand staff facilitation in these settings or identify effective practices. To address these gaps, we conducted a design-based research study to describe the work of experienced museum educators and iteratively refine a model of staff facilitation to support family learning at interactive math exhibits developed through a prior project. The resulting facilitation model identifies three visitor experience goals, outlines the cycle of responsive facilitation (observe, support, reflect) that educators used to support these goals, and highlights the physical, personal, and sociocultural factors that appeared to influence the nature and outcomes of the interactions. The model provides empirical support to guide professional development for museum educators and suggests future directions for visitor studies research.



Team Members

Scott Pattison, Author, Institute for Learning Innovation
Scott Randol, Author, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Marcie Benne, Author, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Andee Rubin, Author, TERC
Ivel Gontan, Author, Fleet Science Center
Elizabeth Andanen, Author, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Crosby Bromley, Author, Salem-Keizer School District
Smirla Ramos-Montañez, Author, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Lynn Dierking, Author, Oregon State University


Publication: Visitor Studies
Volume: 20
Number: 2
Page(s): 138-164


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 1321666
Funding Amount: $866,793.00

Related URLs

Research: Researching the Value of Educator Actions for Learning (REVEAL)


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Evaluators | Families | Learning Researchers | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | Mathematics
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Professional Development and Workshops

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This material is supported by National Science Foundation award DRL-2229061, with previous support under DRL-1612739, DRL-1842633, DRL-1212803, and DRL-0638981. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations contained within InformalScience.org are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF.

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