Testing the Impact of a Computer Guide on Visitor Learning Behaviors at an Interactive Exhibit

Date: 
Monday, October 1, 2012
Resource Type:
Research Products | Peer-reviewed article
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Games, Simulations, and Interactives, Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits
Audience: 
Families
Discipline: 
Mathematics | Social science and psychology
Organization:
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Description: 

There is a recognized need to rigorously examine the efficacy of approaches to supporting informal learning. In this study, we used a 2 × 2 factorial experimental design to test the impact of a computer guide on 3 proximal measures of visitor learning at an interactive math exhibit. In total, 128 families were systematically assigned to engage with the exhibit either with or without access to a supplementary computer kiosk. Visitor groups with access to the computer spent longer, on average, at the exhibit and engaged in more mathematical behaviors compared to other groups. However, based on interviews, visitors with access to the computer were less likely to fully articulate the mathematical relations in the exhibit. These results suggest that although computer guides are a promising approach to supporting visitor engagement, they may, unless carefully designed, undermine other learning outcomes.

Funder(s): 
NSF
Funding Program: 
ISE/AISL
Award Number: 
DRL-0714634
Citation
DOI:
10.1080/10645578.2012.715010
Publication Name: 
Visitor Studies
Volume: 
15
Number: 
2
Page Number: 
171

Team Members

Scott EwingScott EwingAuthor
Angela FreyAngela FreyAuthor

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