University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik, kommunikation och lärande

Abstract: Purpose: The overall purpose of the study is to explore how engagement with digital interactive exhibits can be evaluated in a museum rather than in a science centre setting and scrutinize factors that encourage or hinder visitors’ engagement. This is examined using a case study of the Human Nature exhibition displayed at the Museum of World Culture (Gothenburg, Sweden). Theory: The study is built upon the Contextual Model of Learning grounded in the ideas of constructivism. It provides a suitable framework to explore the multidimensional nature of interaction with exhibits from the perspective of an active visitor who constructs one's own meaning based on personal, social and environmental factors. Method: The chosen design frame is the case study that enables obtaining a detailed and rich understanding of the visitor’s experience. The combination of methods, i.e. accompanied visits and observations followed by short interviews with visitors, provides an insight into how engagement unfolds in a unique context of a particular exhibition. Results: The main contribution of the study is the adapted Visitor Engagement Framework that may serve as a method to evaluate engagement with digital interactive exhibits in the context of museums. The study also outlines the characteristics of personal, physical, and sociocultural contexts that may influence visitors’ engagement with exhibits.

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