Convergent Learning from Divergent Perspectives: Interdisciplinary Collaborations in Informal Science Communication

Saturday, September 1, 2018 to Tuesday, August 31, 2021
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Project Descriptions
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Community Outreach Programs, Museum and Science Center Programs, Public Events and Festivals
Middle School Children (11-13) | Youth/Teen (up to 17) | General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists
General STEM
Ohio State University

As part of its overall strategy to enhance learning in informal environments, the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program seeks to advance new approaches to, and evidence-based understanding of, the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments. This includes providing multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences, advancing innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments, and developing understandings of deeper learning by participants. This Innovations in Development project will develop a collaborative program to connect and prepare researchers from divergent disciplines to communicate science to publics of all ages in three distinct informal environments: pop-ups at community events, experiential learning with problem solving events for youth, and presentations at a science museum. It will study the effects of this program on the identity and motivations of STEM researchers and evaluate the short and medium-term outcomes for public audiences. Project partners include, The STEAM Factory, OHI/O Informal Learning in Tech Program, and the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) all located in Columbus, Ohio.

The primary goals of this project are as follows. 1) Develop a collaborative program that connects and prepares researchers from divergent disciplines to creatively and effectively communicate science to people of all ages. 2) Evaluate the short and medium-term learning outcomes across different informal learning settings. 3) Study the effect of this collaborative program on the motivations and identify of the researchers. The specific research question is: In what ways do researchers motivations and identities further develop because of these collaborative experiences with divergent perspectives? A mixed method approach will be used. Data will be collected and analyzed from 3 cohorts of researchers who implement programs in different informal learning settings. A series of pre- and post interviews with scientists will be designed to answer the research question above. Interviews will be grounded in self-determination theory. Later reflective surveys will serve as triangulation for the data.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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Team Members

Sathya GopalakrishnanSathya GopalakrishnanPrincipal Investigator
Justin MeyerJustin MeyerCo-Principal Investigator
Rachel KajfezRachel KajfezCo-Principal Investigator
Arnab NandiArnab NandiCo-Principal Investigator

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