Skip to main content

Learning from and with museum objects: design perspectives, environment, and emerging learning systems

Abstract

Sociocultural approaches emphasize the systemic, context-bound nature of learning, which is mediated by other people, physical and conceptual artifacts, and tools. However, current educational systems tend not to approach learning from the systemic perspective, and mostly situate learning within classroom environments. This design-based research aims to seek answers to these challenges by enhancing the use of museum objects and inquiry tools in learning through developing a new kind of virtual environment. By using learning objects that represent physical objects, the students can develop their own research questions, and choose related museum artifacts and inquiry tools with which to find answers to their questions during forthcoming museum visits. This study aims to examine what kinds of learning systems emerged when three different student groups collaboratively designed their visits to the Finnish Forest Museum based on their own interests and afforded resources in the learning environment. Data analysis indicates that a tool-driven system typically seems to represent the approach of primary school students, with an object-driven system for technical college students, and a strategic, research-question-driven system for teacher-education students. When considering the desired effects of technology and open environments on emerging learning systems and processes, the results of the study suggest that self-organization and free choice do not necessarily lead to research-question-driven learning processes, unless the variation in student approaches, design-process scaffolding, and paying attention to the social arrangements, and to the use of tools during the implementation of inquiry activities are all taken into account.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10

References

  • Bell, P., Lewenstein, B., Shouse, A., & Feder, M. (2009). Learning science in informal environments. People, places, and pursuits. Washington: National Academies Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bielaczyc, K., & Collins, A. (1999). Learning communities in classrooms: A reconceptualization of educational practice. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional-design theories and models: A new paradigm of instructional theory (pp. 269–292). Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  • Churchill, D. (2005). Learning object: An interactive representation and a mediating tool in a learning activity. Educational Media International, 42(4), 333–349.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cobb, P., Confrey, J., diSessa, A., Lehrer, R., & Schauble, L. (2003). Design experiments in educational research. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 9–13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cochrane, T. (2005). Interactive quicktime. Developing and evaluating multimedia learning objects to enhance both face-to-face and distance e-learning environments. Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects, 1(1), 33–54.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cox-Petersen, A., Marsh, D., Kisiel, J., & Melber, L. (2003). Investigation of guided school tours, student learning, and science reform recommendations at a museum of natural history. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40(2), 200–218.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • De Bono, E. (1985). Six thinking hats. Boston: Little Brown and Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • Design-Based Research Collective. (2003). Design-based research: An emerging paradigm for educational inquiry. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 5–8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Enkenberg, J. (2001). Instructional design and emerging teaching models in higher education. Computers in Human Behavior, 17(5–6), 495–506.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Falk, J. (2004). The director’s cut: Toward an improved understanding of learning from museums. Science Education, 88(1), 83–96.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fischer, G., & Redmiles, D. (2008). Transdisciplinary education and collaboration: Contribution to the Human Computer Interaction Consortium (HCIC) Workshop 2008. Retrieved Aug 07, 2013, from http://l3d.cs.colorado.edu/~gerhard/papers/hcic2008.pdf.

  • Francis, R. (2007). The predicament of the learner in the new media age: An investigation into the implications of media change for learning. (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation). Oxford University, Oxford.

  • Frost, C. (2002). When the object is digital: Properties of digital surrogate objects and implications for learning. In S. Paris (Ed.), Perspectives on object-centred learning in museums (pp. 37–54). Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  • Giaccardi, E., & Fitzcarrald, F. (2004). Memory and territory: New forms of virtuality for the museum. Museums and the Web 2004. Retrieved Aug 07, 2013 from, http://www.museumsandtheweb.com/mw2004/papers/giaccardi/giaccardi.html.

  • Griffin, J. (2004). Research on students and museums: Looking more closely at the students in school groups. Science Education, 88(11), 59–70.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Griffin, J., & Symington, D. (1997). Moving from task-oriented to learning-oriented strategies on school excursions to museums. Science Education, 81(6), 763–779.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gutwill, J., & Allen, S. (2012). Deepening students’ scientific inquiry skills during a science museum field trip. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 21(1), 130–181.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hakkarainen, K. (1998). Epistemology of inquiry and computer-supported collaborative learning. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis. University of Toronto.

  • Harden, R., Gessner, I., Gunn, M., Issenberg, S., Pringle, S., & Stewart, A. (2011). Creating an e-learning module from learning objects using a commentary or personal learning assistant. Medical Teacher, 33(4), 286–290.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hawkey, R. (2004). Learning with digital technologies in museums, science centres and galleries. Futurelab SERIES. Future Lab. Retrieved Aug 05, 2013, from http://archive.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/lit_reviews/Museums_Galleries_Review.pdf.

  • Hennessy, S., & Murphy, P. (1999). The potential for collaborative problem solving in design and technology. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 9(1), 1–36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jacobsson, A., & Davidsson, E. (2012). Using sociocultural frameworks to understand the significance of interactions at science and technology centers and museums. In E. Davidsson & A. Jakobsson (Eds.), Understanding interactions at science centers and museums—Approaching sociocultural perspectives (pp. 3–22). The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Jonassen, D., & Churchill, D. (2004). Is there learning orientation in learning objects. International Journal of E-Learning, 3(2), 32–42.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kim, B., & Reeves, T. C. (2006). Reframing research on learning with technology: In search of the meaning of cognitive tools. Instructional Science, 35(3), 207–256.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kisiel, J. (2005). An examination of fieldtrip strategies and their implementation within a natural history museum. Science Education, 90(3), 434–452.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Krajcik, J., & Blumenfeld, P. (2006). Project-based learning. In K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 317–333). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lahti, H., Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, P., & Hakkarainen, K. (2004). Collaboration patterns in computer supported collaborative designing. Design Studies, 25(4), 351–371.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lehtinen, E. (2003). Computer supported collaborative learning: An approach to powerful learning environments. In E. De Corte, L. Verschaffel, N. Entwistle, & J. Van Merriënboer (Eds.), Unraveling basic components and dimensions of powerful learning environments (pp. 35–53). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lesh, R., Kelly, A., & Yoon, C. (2008). Multitiered design experiments in mathematics, science and technology education. In A. Kelly, R. Lesh, & J. Baek (Eds.), Handbook of design research methods in education: Innovations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning and teaching (pp. 131–148). New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • National Education Technology Plan. (2010). Transforming American education: Learning powered by technology.Retrieved Aug 05, 2013, from www.ed.cov/technology/netp-2010.

  • National Research Council. (1996). National science education standards. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Paris, S., & Hapgood, S. (2002). Children learning with objects in informal learning environments. In S. Paris (Ed.), Perspectives on object-centered learning in museums (pp. 37–54). Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  • Plomp, T. (2009). Educational design research: An introduction. In T. Plomp & N. Nieveen (Eds.), An introduction to educational design research (pp. 9–36). Enschede: SLO.

    Google Scholar 

  • Prosser, D., & Eddisford, S. (2004). Virtual museum learning. Information Technology in Childhood Education Annual, 1, 281–297.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rennie, L., & Johnston, D. (2004). The nature of learning and its implications for research on learning from museums. Science Education, 88(1), 4–16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roth, W.-M. (1998). Designing communities. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Salomon, G. (1994). Differences in patterns: Studying computer enhanced learning environments. In S. Vosniadou, E. De Corte, & H. Mandl (Eds.), Technology- based learning environments: Psychological and educational foundations (Vol. 137, pp. 79–85)., NATO ASI Series F: Computer and System Science Berlin: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Säljö, R. (2010). Digital tools and challenges to institutional traditions of learning: Technologies, social memory and the performative nature of learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26(1), 53–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schauble, L., Leinhardt, G., & Martin, L. (1997). A framework for organizing a cumulative research agenda in informal learning contexts. Journal of Museum Education, 22(2), 3–8.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schoultz, J., Saljö, R., & Wyndhamn, J. (2001). Heavenly talk: Discourse, artifacts, and children’s understanding of elementary astronomy. Human Development, 44(2–3), 103–118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, P., Viilo, M., & Hakkarainen, K. (2010). Learning by collaborative design: Technology-enhanced knowledge practices. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 20(2), 109–136.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sfard, A. (1998). On two metaphors for learning and the danger of choosing just one. Educational Researcher, 27, 4–13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tal, T., & Morag, O. (2007). School visits to natural history museums: Teaching or enriching? Journal of Research in Science Education, 44(5), 747–769.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vartiainen, H., Liljeström, A., & Enkenberg, J. (2012). Design-oriented pedagogy for technology-enhanced learning to cross over the borders between formal and informal environments. Journal of Universal Computer Science, 18(15), 2097–2119.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Thought and language. Cambridge: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wang, F., & Hannafin, M. (2005). Design-based research and technology: Enhanced learning environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(4), 5–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wells, G. (1999). Dialogic inquiry: Towards a sociocultural practice and theory of education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Wells, G. (2002). Learning and teaching for understanding: The key role of collaborative knowledge building. In J. Brophy (Ed.), Social constructivist teaching: Affordances and constraints (pp. 1–41). Oxford: Elsevier/JAL.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Wells, G. (2011). Motive and motivation in learning to teach. In D. McInerney, R. Walker, & G. Liem (Eds.), Sociocultural theories of learning and motivation: Looking back, looking forward (pp. 87–107). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Wiley, D. (2000). Connecting learning objects to instructional design theory: A definition, a metaphor, and a taxonomy. In D. Wiley, (Ed.), The instructional use of learning objects: Online version. Retrieved Aug 07, 2013, from http://www.reusability.org/read/.

  • Wiley, D. (2007). The learning objects literature. In M. Spector, D. Merril, J. Van Merriënboer, & M. Driscoll (Eds.), Handbook of research for educational communications and technology (pp. 345–354). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wiley, D., & Edwards, E. (2002). Online self-organizing social systems: The decentralized future of online learning. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 3(1), 33–46.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This study has been supported by the doctoral program for Multidisciplinary Research on Learning Environments (OPMON), Academy of Finland (Project No. 1217068) and partly by Blended learning-Technology-Enhanced Teaching and Learning Environments-Project (UEF, Project No. S11822).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Henriikka Vartiainen.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Vartiainen, H., Enkenberg, J. Learning from and with museum objects: design perspectives, environment, and emerging learning systems. Education Tech Research Dev 61, 841–862 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-013-9311-8

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-013-9311-8

Keywords

  • Museum object
  • Learning system
  • Learning object
  • Learning by designing
  • Design experiment
  • Design-oriented learning