Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 274–284 | Cite as

Multiple Outcomes of Class Visits to Natural History Museums: The Students’ View

  • Yael BambergerEmail author
  • Tali Tal


The purpose of this study was to describe and understand the range of outcomes of class visits to natural history museums. The theoretical framework is based on the multifaceted process of learning in free choice learning environments, and emphasizes the unique and individual learning experience in museum settings. The study’s significance is in highlighting several possible cognitive as well as non-cognitive learning effects in museums class visits, by providing the student’s point of view. Data was collected by semi-structured interviews with 50 students in grades 6–8 on the day following the visit. We present evidence that students expressed several learning outcomes, connected directly and indirectly to the scientific content of the visit. Content oriented outcomes included acquiring scientific knowledge and making connections to prior knowledge; social oriented outcomes were identified in students’ statements regarding communicating knowledge and social aspects of learning; and interest oriented outcomes were evidenced by students’ expressions about emotions, interest and curiosity. The aggregate data addressed the common outcomes and the impact of class visits to natural history museums in the short term. Comparisons between two types of museums show significant differences in several aspects, regarding the exhibit and/or the activity type. Practical ideas for structuring the ultimate experience are included.


Informal learning Class visit Museum Learning outcomes 



The research reported here was supported by Israel Science Foundation (ISF-# 838/02-32.0) and by an Israel Foundations Trustees grant. Any opinions expressed in this work are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent either those of the funding agencies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education in Technology and ScienceTechnionHaifaIsrael

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