ERIC Number: EJ1026617
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Scaffolding Informal Learning in Science Museums: How Much Is Too Much?
Yoon, Susan A.; Elinich, Karen; Wang, Joyce; Van Schooneveld, Jaqueline B.; Anderson, Emma
Science Education, v97 n6 p848-877 Nov 2013
This research follows on a previous study that investigated how digitally augmented devices and knowledge building could enhance learning in a science museum. In this study, we were interested in understanding which combination of scaffolds could be used in conjunction with the unique characteristics of informal participation to increase conceptual and cognitive outcomes. Three hundred seven students from nine middle schools participated in the study. Six scaffolds were used in various combinations. The first was the digital augmentation. The next five were adaptations of knowledge-building scaffolds. Results demonstrated that digital augmentations, posted questions, and participation in collaborative groups may be the optimal design for improving conceptual learning (content knowledge) while preserving informal participation behaviors. However, our results also showed that obtaining deeper cognitive gains such as ability to theorize only occurred in the most highly scaffolded condition in which students demonstrated much decreased informal participation behaviors. We discuss the implications of our results with respect to the broader research on improving learning in informal science learning environments.
Descriptors: Scaffolding (Teaching Technique), Museums, Science Education, Middle Schools, Teaching Methods, Student Participation, Cooperative Learning, Cognitive Ability, Instructional Effectiveness
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A