Learning From the Visitors' Perspective


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Talk given at the talks after noon program at Powerhouse Museum, 12 November 2008

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  • Learning From the Visitors' Perspective

    1. 1. Learning from the visitors’ perspective Dr Lynda Kelly, Head of Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, Web and Audience Research
    2. 2. <ul><li>Conceptual shift for museums … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>education to learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>responding to learners & communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lifelong learning & educational leisure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>demonstrate outcomes/performance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Visitor-focussed learning agendas … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>confusion between learning & education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dumbing down & entertainment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ thematising” learning </li></ul></ul>The challenges we face …
    3. 3. <ul><li>Stage One: Individual </li></ul><ul><li>Pilot studies (n=7) </li></ul><ul><li>In-depth interviews (n=8) </li></ul><ul><li>Questionnaire (n=100) </li></ul><ul><li>Telephone survey (n=300) </li></ul><ul><li>Literature Review: Identity and Learning </li></ul><ul><li>General learning theories </li></ul><ul><li>Theories influencing museum learning </li></ul><ul><li>How word “learning” has been researched </li></ul><ul><li>General definitions of identity </li></ul><ul><li>Identity and museums </li></ul><ul><li>How identity has been researched in museums </li></ul><ul><li>Stage Two: Sociocultural </li></ul><ul><li>Five families; five couples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre & post-visit interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Observations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conversation analysis </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><ul><li>unique to an individual & shared </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dependant on context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lifelong & lifewide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>immediate & happens over time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>active process of reflection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>chosen based on interests & preferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>shaped by prior knowledge & experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>making meaning & new connections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>creative & innovative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>enjoyable </li></ul></ul>Learning defined
    5. 5. <ul><li>Learning is an essential part of being human; linked to our identity & sense of self: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>we all have an intrinsic desire to learn </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Learning is about change: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>surface learning (new facts, skills) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>deep learning (changing as a person) </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>PLACE </li></ul><ul><li>school </li></ul><ul><li>museums, galleries, </li></ul><ul><li>cultural institutions </li></ul><ul><li>libraries </li></ul><ul><li>internet </li></ul><ul><li>environment/nature </li></ul><ul><li>life </li></ul>MUSEUM LEARNING: PARTICIPATION <ul><li>PROCESS </li></ul><ul><li>“ doing something” </li></ul><ul><li>hands-on </li></ul><ul><li>objects & tools </li></ul><ul><li>cognitive & physical </li></ul><ul><li>surface & deep </li></ul><ul><li>PURPOSE </li></ul><ul><li>motivation </li></ul><ul><li>interests </li></ul><ul><li>enjoyment </li></ul><ul><li>change </li></ul><ul><li>choice </li></ul><ul><li>PEOPLE </li></ul><ul><li>family </li></ul><ul><li>friends, colleagues, work </li></ul><ul><li>accompanying adults </li></ul><ul><li>community </li></ul><ul><li>professionals: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>museum staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>teachers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>PERSON </li></ul><ul><li>prior knowledge, experience </li></ul><ul><li>role </li></ul><ul><li>gender </li></ul><ul><li>cultural background </li></ul><ul><li>lived history </li></ul><ul><li>personal interest </li></ul><ul><li>personal change </li></ul><ul><li>meaning making </li></ul><ul><li>seeing in different way </li></ul><ul><li>PRODUCT </li></ul><ul><li>facts & ideas </li></ul><ul><li>short & long-term </li></ul><ul><li>linking </li></ul><ul><li>outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>meaning making </li></ul><ul><li>change </li></ul>
    7. 7. PERSON <ul><li>Expanding your knowledge, a new aspect on life (Interview #11) </li></ul><ul><li>Finding your place in the world. Engaging with the world in a way to discover more about it and make sense of things. That’s the big picture (Interview #40) </li></ul><ul><li>Being able to put pieces of information together [to] draw conclusions (Interview #71) </li></ul><ul><li>New things that add to your body of knowledge (Interview #78) </li></ul>
    8. 8. THREE ROLES PLAYED <ul><li>Visit manager </li></ul><ul><li>Museum expert </li></ul><ul><li>Learning-facilitator </li></ul>
    9. 9. Visit manager Liz . Let’s look down the back; check if there’s anything down there we need to see. Liz . Shall we go and have a look back there? We might find something that you like Paul.
    10. 10. Museum expert Rox . How do they catch them, Mum? I wonder what they put them in a bottle for? Mary . So you can see them, ‘cos the backs are white, so you can see them better. Tara . Eoww, disgusting! Look at the little bugs … with a needle through them. Liz . Well that’s just to hold them in place. Art . That’s from India again. Dot . I know, I wonder where they find them. Just walking along? Art . I don’t know, probably dug up from somewhere. Caves, mines, it doesn’t say.
    11. 11. Learner-facilitator Kay . Come and look at this. What is that? Where’s that from Zeke? Zeke . Bali. Kay . Yes, good boy. Zeke . I knew that. Kay . How did you know that? Zeke . Because it has all these on it “Javanese and Balinese” [reading from text] in the second line. I’ll tell you why I knew it was Balinese, because I saw those little gold things in Bali.
    12. 12. PURPOSE Obviously [learning is] something that’s not boring, something that’s not passive, so it’s more of an active thing … Something where you choose to be involved, that you’re interested in doing. (Interview Transcript 3.1, 22/11/00)
    13. 13. PROCESS <ul><li>Opening the mind to new experience (Interview #4) </li></ul><ul><li>Acquiring new knowledge and applying that (Interview #5) </li></ul><ul><li>Expanding your knowledge about an area by a variety of means (Interview #11) </li></ul><ul><li>A hands-on experience where [a person] can be involved with something, must be experiential (F3) </li></ul><ul><li>Growth, development, change (F2) </li></ul>
    14. 14. PEOPLE … sometimes we’d bounce off something of interest to ourselves, then we’d look at it a bit more, wander off. Then we’d come together a few times to have a look at things. … I also learned a bit more about my friends. I didn’t know they had an interest in [tattoos] either, and you sort of learn more of what they’re about as well . (Interview Transcript 3.4, 24/02/01)
    15. 15. SHARING LEARNING Rick . Hey Kate look at these ones, how’s that for a shell? Kate . That’s an unusual one. Toni . That’s beautiful. Kate . Were shells alive, are shells alive? Rick . They’ve got things inside them. Toni . Molluscs in them. Kate . But are the actual shells alive? Toni . No. Rick . They’re a shell. Toni . I think the shell is the shell of the mollusc that originally lived in them, like a snail. Kate . So they’re part of something? Toni . They’re part of something that was, yes.
    16. 16. <ul><li>Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Museums, galleries, other cultural institutions </li></ul><ul><li>University, school, formal education </li></ul><ul><li>Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Holiday destinations, the environment </li></ul>PLACE
    17. 17. Ed . Look at the seahorses. Cath . Like the one in the salt water. Bree . They’re just so cute and they swim along… Ed . I’d hate to be bitten by these fish, look at the teeth! Cath . But they don’t normally attack. … When we go to Port Stephens next week we should go and find the white seahorses. Wouldn’t that be mad if we see one and we go, that’s a white seahorse. The guy’s going to just look at us [and go] how do you know that! PLACE
    18. 18. PRODUCT <ul><li>A new way of looking at something – new facts, an interaction (Interview #28) </li></ul><ul><li>The application of knowledge to new circumstances (Interview #55) </li></ul><ul><li>Enhancing my understanding of the world and acting on that understanding (C5) </li></ul><ul><li>Taking in what you see around you and using that in your everyday life (C4) </li></ul>
    19. 19. Deep change … You have this stereotype about people who’ve got tattoos and it really gives you a different perspective on it … I probably just thought it was an abuse to your body, sort of, beforehand ... And since then, like, when people have piercings I just look at it, not stare at it, and think about where they got it, what sort of thing they had done . (Interview Transcript 3.4, 24/02/01)
    20. 20. Linking to past, present & future life experiences <ul><li>Kate . Are they stick insects? </li></ul><ul><li>Toni . Some of them are. That’s at the end of Lord Howe Island, Ball’s Pyramid. </li></ul><ul><li>Kate . Did we sail past that? </li></ul><ul><li>Toni . We didn’t sail past that but we flew nearby. You could see it from the top of the mountain Daddy climbed. Look at the frogs. Look at the size of those. Not like our piddly little ones. </li></ul><ul><li>Kate . Like that small one? [points] </li></ul><ul><li>Toni . Ours would be like that. </li></ul>
    21. 21. PROCESS LEARNING IDENTITY (PERSON) PRODUCT <ul><ul><li>PEOPLE </li></ul></ul>PURPOSE <ul><ul><li>PLACE </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. http.//www.australianmuseum.net.au/amarc/ http://amarclk.blogspot.com/