Staff-mediated learning in museums: A social interaction perspective

Date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Museum and Science Center Programs, Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits
Audience: 
Families | Parents/Caregivers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Discipline: 
Chemistry | General STEM | Physics
Organization:
Oregon State University
Description: 

Educators, docents, and interpreters are considered integral to the learning experiences at many museums. Although there is growing recognition that these staff members need professional development to effectively support visitor learning, there has been little research to describe their work or identify effective facilitation strategies. To address this need, we explored the nature of unstructured staff-facilitated family learning at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, OR, videotaping and inductively analyzing 65 unstructured staff-family interactions. The analysis highlighted the importance of role negotiation between staff and adult family members, particularly during the initiation of interactions, staff and visitor facilitation of family learning, and the introduction of new learning goals by staff members. Aligned with prior research on family learning in museums, adult family members played a critical role in shaping the nature of the interactions and determining the level of involvement of staff members. Findings have important implications for both future research and the professional development of staff.

Citation
DOI:
10.1080/10645578.2013.767731
Publication Name: 
Visitor Studies
Volume: 
16
Number: 
2
Page Number: 
117

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