Parents' and Experts' Awareness of Learning Opportunities in Children's Museum Exhibits
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Informal learning outside of school is crucial for a child's development. Children's museums, in particular, are environments conducive to this sort of learning, especially when parents guide children's exploration. However, research suggests a gap between parents' and experts' perceptions of the value of informal learning. In Study 1, we asked groups of parents and experts (i.e., individuals in the community connected with the field of education or those with training in child growth and development) to rate the presence of learning opportunities available in two museum exhibits, finding that parents consistently provided lower ratings. In Study 2, we explored whether signage aimed at orienting parents toward the learning potential in these exhibits would have an impact on their ratings. Results suggested that signage made parents' ratings look more like those of experts. Taken together, these studies show that a simple intervention can help parents perceive the learning opportunities in children's museum exhibits as experts do.
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Song, L., Golinkoff, R. M., Stuehling, A., Resnick, I., Mahajan, N., Hirsh-Pasek, K., & Thompson, N. (2017). Parents' and experts' awareness of learning opportunities in children's museum exhibits. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 49, 39-45.