AAM2011: Walk the Walk


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A quick look at how to merge design and learning theory in the development of effective learning environments.

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  • Ask the audience How many of you are already pretty familiar at some level with pedagogical or learning theory?How many of you feel you’re well versed in the design process?Make sure there’s a mix at the different tablesExplain the point of this session – that we’ll provide a quick Primer & then some practical application.
  • Example: Think of how intuitively children adopt new tech- and yet think about your institution. How fast do kids whiz past push buttons?New tech is new for nanoseconds- technology isn’t the holy grail, the people who come in your door should be your foundationThose people may not be coming to learn- they may just be coming to have a good time. But we can use learning theory to understand how people engage with content in order to promote that very engagement- to reduce the slam-on-the-button-and-run scenario. Being the educational heavy does not have to exclude fun.We recognize this may be a change for your organization. A big one. Admitting you don’t know a whole lot about your visitors and how they learn and behave, what they want, what they fear, can be scary. And it can turn off some people to have to say ‘this content or experience isn’t for everyone’.
  • 3 types of learning in the world… (Bransford, et.al. (2005). Learning Theories and Education: Toward a Decade of Synergy)FormalSchoolWorkMuseums InformalExperiential – help sculpt individual’s brainMuseumsImplicitInformation acquired effortlessly & sometimes without conscious recollection of the learned info or having acquired itSkills / Language / impacts informal & formalMedia & Technology Social normsNavigation
  • Different VisitorsNot everyone’s coming to learnNot everyone has the same definition of ‘fun’Not every 8 year old, 15 year old, 40 year old is equivalent. What types of people- learning style, demographically- are you getting to your museum and when? To what kinds of exhibits? How does it change over the course of a year? (examples: school groups vs. camp groups, mommy & me changing in summer)Even the users within a museum are not uniform, and will self select experiences.Key differential between museums being a “formal” vs “informal” space is individual motivation and the self-selection process.Intrinsic inevitably leads to greater engagement & retentionBottom line: need to design for multiple pathways – need to find ways to tie into intrisic motivationsStreakers Strollers Studiers (colleague Mike Walker)
  • Successful Design has to work on multiple levels.First is Viceral = intuitive / emotional This is what catches the learner’s attentionappearance, texture, sound – environmental factorsexample - an isolated kiosk with no audio doesn’t draw someone in as much as an experience with light, color, or an audio loop * Note that when dealing with emotional powerful subject matter this must be handled with care. Issues of psychological safety as related to learning.Second is Behavioural = interactionsfunctionality, usability of the interactions with objects/people w/in environmentSocial elementsexample – am I working solo on an activity or does it require a partner; is it a tactile experience or computer based? Immersive, experiencialAnd Finally Reflective = meaning makingwhere the cognitive rubber meets the road; important to allow this Example - National Constitution CenterLots of great stuff but hard to gather your thoughtsU.S. Holocaust MuseumQuiet space to reflect & memorializeContextualExploratorium does this well comfortable with ambiguity; doesn’t always present the answer – leaves space for observation & visitors to draw their own conclusions even if they’re wrong.
  • Clear Learning GoalsEffective learning goals should be action oriented and define an assessable outcome tied to the changes in perception you hope the learner to achieve.factual knowledge vs. changes in comprehension, perception, attitude, behavior, Attention to TheoryNow this is far from an exhaustive list but at least provides a good place to startJohn DeweyJean PiagetLev VygotskyThese are arguably three of the most influential cognitive theorists of the past centuryOne of those theories = Constructivism which you may have heard thrown around a lot in the context of museum learningEssentially this theory holds thatchildren (as well as ADULTS) construct knowledge based on their interactions with the world around them & that this construction happens in a social contextZone of Proximal developmentAnother area of cognitive theory with important implications for the design of learning environments is the domain of Social CognitionWhich focuses more on the mechanical process of how humans store, retrieve, and process information. We’re not going to bore you with definitions of schemas and scripts but rather on some of the lessons that First that to achieve effective learning it’s important to activate prior knowledge – prompt people so they’re in the frame of mind to take in new information and slot it into the correct place. This can be done by asking people what they already know about a subject or thinking about another time when they experienced something… Everyone will have different levels of expertise so you need to be prepared to meet them where they are and design experiences that can work at these different levels.Methods to help accomplish this… MODELING is the most passive but helps to make underlying processes of phenomena, or a thought process more visible to novice learners ex. Science demonstrations; illustrated graphic panelsSCAFFOLDING involves providing structural support to learning as needed… identifying those areas that are perhaps more tricky and providing hints. Parents can do this for their kids but sometimes they need help too.COACHING represents a combination of these types of approaches but harder to accomplish without dedicated staffing.
  • Appropriately matched activities:An example of how you can start to think about how to do this is via Bloom’s Taxonomy This has been around for decades and classifies different learning objectives along a sort of continuum. Grouping cognitive skills into lower and higher reasoning skills**(In his original work he presented the same kind of breakdown for Affective learning (attitude, behavior) and Skill development)Sequential – must master one before moving to the nextSo, comes the question -- At what level are you asking your visitors to engage? Every interaction doesn’t need to blow their mind Every interaction doesn’t need to BLOW THEIR MIND (remember the notion of leaving room for reflection)BUT by contrast, how successful do you think your exhibit will be if everything’s at a ‘lower’ level for all users.Equally important to finding the right kind of interaction & cognitive engagement is Authentic context - make it relevantalign with visitor interests = intrinsic motivation
  • Mission AudienceDemographicsTypes of LearnersGP – Teachers – Students – grade school vs high schoolGoalsStrategicLearning ObjectivesRequirements / ConstraintsBugetingStaffingContent & CollectionsThis is also where you can start to think about selecting appropriate experiences/interactions *** END RESULT of this first half of the process is the development of multiple learning scenarios personas/use-case scenarios The rest of the design process is ‘the fun part’ but in reality the heavy lifting should already be done. Buy-in -- ok maybe not so fun but critical to prevent the process from derailing after you’ve already spent your budgetDevelopmentImplementationEvaluation*** critical component that too often gets overlooked due to budget and time constraints. BUT those personas & use cases come in very handy again when you get around to evaluation which should tie back to these use-cases.Now – in a perfect world this is an iterative process so you’re continually able to improve the exhibit or program. Prototyping can be a quick and dirty way to do this but again, money and time can make this feel like a luxury – although the final product can be improved exponentially by allowing for this in the process.
  • AAM2011: Walk the Walk

    1. 1. Walk the Walk: Using Learning Theory in the Exhibit Design Process<br />Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…<br />She forgets that I’m a kinesthetic learner.<br />Stacey Mann<br />Cynthia Sharpe<br />Phil Lindsey<br />May 24, 2011<br />
    2. 2. Why does this matter? <br />Presumably you want visitors to actually learn something<br />You also probably don’t want them feeling bored, stupid, or incapable<br />You’re competing for people: you can’t get them in the door again if they have a lousy time<br />
    3. 3. Learning over a lifetime<br />(LIFE Center: Stevens, R. Bransford, J. & Stevens, A., 2005 )<br />IMPLICIT LEARNING<br />
    4. 4. Learning in the Post-Modern Museum<br />Different museum experiences<br />didactic, exploratory, immersive, social, “interactive”<br />Different types of visitors (aka learners)<br />behaviors, cultures, sociability<br />Different motivations<br />intrinsic vs. extrinsic<br />
    5. 5. Successful design attends to:<br />Visceral<br />Sweet Spot<br />Behavioral<br />Reflective<br />Norman, D. (2005)<br />
    6. 6. Successful learning requires:<br />Clear learning goals<br />cognitive, affective (attitude/behavior), skills<br />Attention to theory (Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, etc.)<br />Constructivism<br />children & adults construct knowledge<br />social context<br />Social Cognition <br />activate prior knowledge<br />modeling / scaffolding / coaching <br />
    7. 7. Successful learning requires:<br />Appropriately matched activities<br />Bloom’s Taxonomy - revised<br />
    8. 8. (Iterative) Design Process:<br /><ul><li>Mission
    9. 9. Audience
    10. 10. Goals
    11. 11. Requirements / Constraints
    12. 12. Buy-in
    13. 13. Development
    14. 14. Implementation
    15. 15. Evaluation</li></ul>(Wash, Rinse, Repeat)<br />Multiple Learning Scenarios<br />Personas<br />Use-Case scenarios<br />
    16. 16. Design Charette Checklist<br />Missionaka “The Big Idea” (purpose of the exhibit / program / product)<br />Audience(primary / secondary / tertiary)<br />Goals<br />strategic (tied to institutional mission, business goals)<br />learning (cognitive, attitudinal, behavioral)<br />Requirements & Constraints<br />budget vs. scope<br />experience/interaction type vs. learning intent <br />have vs. need to get/create<br />square footage vs. impact of piece<br />Leading to  Multiple Learning Scenarios (personas + use-cases)<br />
    17. 17. Resources (abridged)<br />Books:<br />Articles:<br />The Design of Everyday Things (Don Norman)<br /> Insightful look at the connection between cognitive science and good design. (Also read: Emotional Design, Things That Make us Smart)<br /> <br />Made to Stick (Chip and Dan Heath)<br /> The science of storytelling and crafting a compelling narrative<br /> <br />Efficiency in Learning: Evidence-based Guidelines to Manage Cognitive Load (Ruth Clark, Frank Nguyen, John Sweller)<br /> Comprehensive overview of how to use visuals, written text, and audio to best effect in learning environments<br /> <br />Learning in the Museum (George E. Hein)<br /> Very academic application of education and learning theory within the museum context<br /> <br />Contemporary Theories of Learning: Learning Theorists… In Their Own Words (KnudIlleris, editor)<br /> Presents a wide variety of current theories, moving from defining the frameworks of learning to the specific nuances of learning, bridging pure content and the social context.<br />Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Howard Gardner)<br /> The updated for 2011 version of the landmark Theory of Multiple Intelligences.<br />Kelley, T. (2001). The art of innovation: Lessons in creativity from IDEO, America’s leading design firm. Doubleday: New York. Chapter 3: Innovation begins with an eye.<br />Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., & Bloom, B. S. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman. Chapters 1-3.<br /> <br />Collins, A. (1995). Design Issues for Learning Environments. In S. Vosniadou, E. de Corte & H. Mandle (Eds.), International perspectives on the psychological foundations of technology-based learning environments (pp. 347-361). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.<br />Huitt, W. (2001). Motivation to learn: An overview. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University: http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/topics/motivation/motivate.html<br />