The Impact of Facilitation by Museum Educators on Family Learning at Interactive Math Exhibits: A Quasi-Experimental Study

Date: 
Friday, December 14, 2018
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Museum and Science Center Programs, Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits
Audience: 
Families | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
Discipline: 
Education and learning science | Mathematics
Organization:
TERC, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Fleet Science Center, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Northwest, Salem-Keizer School District, Oregon State University
Description: 

Although discussions of museums often revolve around exhibits, educators in these spaces have the potential to create in-depth, social learning experiences beyond what is possible at exhibits alone. There is still little empirical research, however, to inform how we understand, approach, and improve museum facilitation practices. In this study, we sought to address this gap by quantifying the impact of facilitation by trained educators working with visitors at interactive museum exhibits and comparing this to visitor engagement and learning outcomes for families without educator support. Using a quasi-experimental design, we measured the impact of staff facilitation on visitor engagement time, mathematical reasoning, math awareness, satisfaction, and intergenerational communication across three different exhibits, four trained educators, and two experimental conditions. Multivariate regression modeling showed that staff facilitation had a positive impact on engagement time, mathematical reasoning, and satisfaction, a negative impact on intergenerational communication, and no impact on math awareness.

Funder(s): 
NSF
Funding Program: 
AISL
Award Number: 
1321666
Citation
ISSN:
1934-7715
DOI:
10.1080/10645578.2018.1503879
Publication Name: 
Visitor Studies
Volume: 
21
Number: 
1
Page Number: 
4-30

Team Members

Andee RubinAuthor
Marcie BenneMarcie BenneAuthor
Ivel GontanAuthor
Elizabeth AndanenElizabeth AndanenAuthor
Todd ShagottTodd ShagottAuthor
Melanie FranciscoMelanie FranciscoAuthor
Crosby BromleyCrosby BromleyAuthor

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