Designs for Learning: Studying Science Museum Exhibits that Do More than Entertain

January 1st, 2004 | RESEARCH

Science museum staff face a constructivist dilemma as they design their public spaces: the exhibits should facilitate science learning, yet they also need to support a diverse visiting public in making their own personal choices about where to attend, what to do, and how to interpret their interactions. To be effective as teaching tools, exhibits need to be highly intrinsically motivating at every step of an interaction in order to sustain involvement by an audience who views their visit primarily as a leisure activity. Given these challenges, it is vital to support the design process with a strong program of research and evaluation. I give a personal perspective on one institution's research and evaluation work over the last decade, focusing on four areas: immediate apprehendability, physical interactivity, conceptual coherence, and diversity of learners.


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Team Members

Sue Allen, Author, Exploratorium


Publication: Science Education
Volume: 88
Number: 1

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Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits