Strengthening engagement in science understanding with learning trails


The Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology has developed a learning concept for school classes in science centres named “learning trails”. In this concept, groups of students perform a series of thematically related experiments with installations in the science centre. The learning trails are designed to support the generic learning outcomes for science centre visits. We argue that the previously developed Engagement Profile can be used to translate exhibit properties into both media forms and generic learning outcomes for such learning concepts. Further, we implemented the learning trails in two modes: one mode used paper-based content to guide the students, while the other mode supported the use of tablet PCs where engaging content is triggered when the students approach the location of an experiment in the learning trail. We studied the engagement factors of the learning trails and observed how school classes use these. In a study with 113 students from lower secondary school (age 16), they answered short questionnaires that were integrated into the implementation of the learning trails. While the concept of the learning trails was evaluated positively, we could not find significant differences in how engaging the two implemented modes were.