Sitting with a bunch of scientists, visualisation people and learning specialists at this workshop and was getting a bit lost in all the jargon, diagrams and theories. Got me wondering how we might be able to make these (important and vital) concepts of interest to museum visitors, students and various others.
Some blog posts I have written in the past may assist in working out some potential answers:
- Visitors Interest in Science: A summary of several studies conducted at the Australian Museum into visitor interest in science
- Audience Research – Visitor wants: What do visitors want from their museum experience?
- Audience Research – Visitor behaviour What do people do in museum exhibitions?
- Learning in interactive environments: prior knowledge and new experience
- Games-based learning principles
- The curiosity-driven brain: How curiosity affects our brains and how this relates to the curiosity-driven visitor
- The Connected Audience: New tools, old wiring: Revisiting a talk by John Falk at a conference last year
Based on what I’m hearing at the conference and reflecting on these posts, it seems to me that in order to get these concepts across we need to:
- Start with people’s interests and prior knowledge
- Use the voices of the scientists themselves
- Make clear why and how these concepts relate to them personally – why should they know or even care about these concepts?
- Use less scientific diagrams and scientific jargon, and more questions and provocations
- Prototype on the museum floor – work with visitors
- Use tools visitors are familiar with and are intuitive – game consoles, mobile devices, interactive tables
- Think about and use collaborative and social learning
- Think about the physicality of the concept you want to get across – touch and feel are powerful learning aids (van this be replaced by technology? I’m unsure)
- Answer the why, not try and explain the how
- Encourage curiosity
- Get out of our comfort zones – leave the lab and get on the floor
- If you don’t know enough, just start with what you do know
- Use #tweetable moments??
- Take lessons from speed dating?!
- Balance interests with benefits?
You can follow the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #DCOModVis