The CPD module on Learning in exhibitions

Project leader: Merethe Frøyland and Dagny Stuedahl

Project period: 15.09-2013 – 21.08.2015

Participants: Norwegian University of Life Sciences continuing education, Norwegian Science Center Association, science educators from 9 science centers

The CPD module connects to ongoing discussion of the education of science center educators and the need to develop a shared language and shared practice (Tran 2007). While science center educators are involved in professionalization of their profession through associations and networks, sharing guidelines and thematic discussions, there still seems to be a need for initiatives that fill the gaps in educational development. Several initiatives for continuing professional development (CPD) have emerged to build a professional learning community. These initiatives are based on the need for demarcating the knowledge and skills of science center education profession. There exists several studies on what museum educators do, but there is a limited body of literature on how educators do their work (Tran & King 2007). This builds the background for a CPD-course offered by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. The CPD program has a special focus on methods and analytical frameworks for re-design of exhibition installations based on learning theories.

The CPD-module give 15 ESCT, lasts for a period of 9 months, and includes 4 workshops ending with a project report that will be examined.Each workshop presents a theme and a knowledge component that the science educators integrate into their practical work with an installation in their own centre. During the workshops science center educators are involved in experimental and practical sessions to gain experience with different methods of documentation and observation of interactions in the exhibition. Different methods for studying visitors’ interactions and learning from exhibits and installations are investigated collaboratively and discussed in relation to local contexts . As an outcome the course participant’s work on a practical re-design of an installation in their own science center, by implementing methods, theories and techniques gained from the course .