ERIC Number: ED399412
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
Adult Learning in Nonformal Institutions. ERIC Digest No. 173.
Heimlich, Joe E.; And Others
Museums, zoos, nature centers, science centers, aquariums, and other similar places provide an opportunity for lifelong learning in a nonthreatening setting for most adults. They are places where nonformal learning (outside the formal learning setting and characterized by voluntary participation) can easily take place through such methods as tours, informational signage, exhibits, and demonstrations, and they can also offer more formal education through workshops and classes. Hundreds of millions of people visits these institutions, and probably more than half of them are adults. Many adults come to these institutions for primarily social reasons, so their learning opportunities may need to be constructed in a manner that supports the social activity. To engage adult visitors effectively, education programs can use adult education principles to enhance the visit for the purpose of learning. The places must be user friendly and comfortable. Increasingly, institutions are using interpretive layering, which provides information in small, layered levels so that visitors can choose to absorb the essence of the exhibit without filtering through complex descriptions or discussions. Whether the purpose of the visit is social or educational, adult visitors attend attractions with an overall positive attitude. Learning is a lifelong process, and the role of the educator in this setting is to enhance the attraction and help guide the adult visitor to new levels of understanding and action. (Contains 32 references.) (KC)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Columbus, OH.