Tinkering: Addressing the Adults. A Theoretical and Methodological Framework

Sunday, September 1, 2019 to Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Resource Type:
Report | Reference Materials
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Making and Tinkering Programs
Adults | Administration/Leadership/Policymakers | Museum/ISE Professionals
Art, music, and theater | Engineering | General STEM | Technology
Access and Inclusion: 
Low Socioeconomic Status
University of Cambridge, NEMO Science Museum, TRACES, Fondazione Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci

Tinkering is an approach to learning increasingly adopted within informal learning settings to engage people with STEM learning (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). It builds on ideas in inquiry-based pedagogy and exploits some of the most engaging and motivational elements of learner-centered, immersive and hands-on learning approaches to develop 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, problem solving, communication, responsibility, self-confidence, digital literacy and entrepreneurship. In a Tinkering activity, the learner is presented with wide-raging tools and materials which they use to explore STEM phenomena through the process of creating something new. The uniqueness of the Tinkering activities lies in their innovative methodology.

This document details the methodological framework for the project "Tinkering EU: Addressing the Adults" and comprises a critical review of the relationship between Tinkering, adult engagement with STEM, development of 21st Century skills, lifelong learning and social inclusion. By exploring the relationship between these areas, this document outlines:

  1. how and why Tinkering can be used as an inclusive teaching approach for Adult Learning and Education (ALE) in an informal learning setting;
  2. the ways in which the project will help to develop sector knowledge around inclusive practice for working with vulnerable, underserved, disadvantaged or marginalised adults with relatively low participation rates in ALE and STEM learning.
Funding Program: 
Erasmus+ Programme of the EU

Team Members

Emily HarrisEmily HarrisAuthor
Mark WinterbottomMark WinterbottomAuthor
Inka de PijperInka de PijperAuthor
Vanessa MignanVanessa MignanAuthor

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