Free-Choice Learning Research and the Virtual Science Center: Establishing a Record Agenda

Free-Choice Learning Research and the Virtual Science Center: Establishing a Record Agenda

Kathryn Haley Goldman (Institute for Higher Learning Innovation, USA) and Lynn D. Dierking (Institute for Learning Innovation, USA)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-591-7.ch002
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Abstract

Societies are in the midst of change, witnessing an explosion in out-of-school learning. From the proliferation of educational programming through film, television, museums and science centers, there are more opportunities for free-choice learning, self-directed and voluntary, than ever before. However, most virtual learning research is focused on classroom-based practices with little research on how learning occurs virtually. This chapter describes an appropriate research agenda, suggesting some of the research questions of highest priority. Authors suggest that models such as the Contextual Model of Learning are useful tools to understand the virtual science center experience and frame a research agenda for the future. Better understanding the nature of such virtual experiences and the factors that contribute to learning online will enable the field to better design such science centers, as well as begin to build a body of knowledge about how people in the 21st century engage in free-choice learning online.

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