Learning in visualization exhibits :The general public’s learning about space through visual data exploration in science museums

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Examensarbete för masterexamen
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2022
Författare
Petterson, Isak
Söderberg, Maria
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Digital visualization tools are entering the arena of educating the general public in museums. The science museum Universeum in Gothenburg has utilized this technology in building a visualization lab with the aim of accelerating learning. This thesis examines one exhibit in the visualization lab which concerns space-data- exploration. The questions examined are the following: Do learning take place when visitors explore this exhibit? And in that case: How does that learning take place? To examine learning, visitors’ conversations are studied in a field experiment, during their exploration of the exhibit. The conversations are recorded and analysed according to what type of talk visitors use and what subject content it concerns. The results show that on average 72% of visitors’ talk at the exhibit concern learning, spanning the range of 40–90% between visitors. There is however a moderate amount of talk regarding confusion over the interface, especially among those visitors with a smaller percentage of learning talk, which raises concerns about how visitors would interact with the system when unsupervised. Thus the first conclusion of the study is that learning do take place, but to a varying degree. The second conclusion is that learning in the exhibit may be described as mainly consisting of answering and asking questions, connecting new information to pre- vious knowledge and interacting with the visual information of the exhibit. The most common subject content that the learning concern are the planets in our solar system and the universe as a whole, which may be seen to be content that are both familiar and intriguing.
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Learning conversations, exploratory learning, science museum, data visualisation
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