2018suriyakulnaayudhyaWPhD.pdf (7.65 MB)
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Supporting Family Learning in Thailand's National Science Museum: Design and Evaluation of Mobile Tools

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posted on 20.02.2018, 11:33 authored by Wijitra Suriyakul Na Ayudhya
Science education researchers and practitioners become increasingly interested in the use of mobile tools to enhance science learning outside school. A number of related projects and initiatives have been launched in museum settings over the past decade. This study focuses on the integration of mobile learning into families’ science museum experiences as a tool for enhancing family science learning. This thesis presents research undertaken with family visitors to The National Science Museum in Thailand (NSM). The research comprised three major activities: 1) a preliminary study to identify the family learning needs and desired support at the NSM; 2) the development of a mobile application for NSM family visitors; and 3) A comprehensive summative evaluation that used a range of evaluation methods to provide a deeper understanding of the impact of the mobile application on the family experience. The preliminary study included interviews with three groups of participants (museum staff, family visitors, and the mobile app developers). Data about family need and desired support and services were collected and analysed through Grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1999). The content, structure and features of the mobile application were subsequently designed based on the requirements that emerged from the preliminary study. The application was created for both iOS and Android operating systems. Four main features of the application are Exhibition highlights which includes additional multimedia interpretation of some prominent exhibits, Map and direction, Camera and QR code interface, and the museum’s Events Calendar. The summative evaluation focused on the impacts of the mobile application on the family experience, including learning outcomes and family engagement with exhibits. It included 1) usability evaluation of the mobile application; 2) evaluation of the family learning outcomes by applying the Generic Learning Outcomes (GLOs) framework; and 3) an analysis of video-based observations of family behaviours at an exhibit using Bitgood’s attention-value model of visitor engagement (Bitgood, 2010). Findings suggest that the app (a) significantly increased family dwell time, (b) provided an additional platform for family interactions, and (c) amplified learning outcomes. The study aspires to evidence the potential of mobile technology to enhance family learning in the science museum and to offer guidance for developing similar tools for families in other informal science learning contexts. The thesis concludes with a summary of the implications of this study and recommendations for further research.



Vavoula, Giasemi; Marstine, Janet

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Author affiliation

School of Museum Studies

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

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