Elementary, Secondary and Informal Education: Conceptualizing and Assessing Web-based Informal Science Learning
The Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh has designed a research project to examine the process of and outcomes of informal (out of school) web-based learning. "Conceptualizing and Assessing Web-based Informal Science Education" will be a three-year research study to document and analyze how the informal learner, both as an individual and in a social group, uses and learns from web-based activities. The PIs will also develop a framework and tools for evaluating informal web-based learning environments and guidelines for effective web-based learning activities. This research will use web sites developed by museums and that are complementary to exhibits in those museums. These sites are being selected because according to the PIs, "museums and other nonprofit developers are already going beyond traditional content to create true virtual informal learning environments." The outcomes of this research will include a better understanding of the cognitive and social processes that occur as learners engage in web-based activities; a framework and tools for evaluating informal web-based learning activities; and a web-based annotated bibliography relevant to this research.