Research to Practice: Observing Learning in Tinkering Activities (Museum)


by Sylvia Martinez -

Unfortunately this is behind a paywall... it would be great to know what these frameworks are!

Update - March 30

Research to Practice: Observing Learning in Tinkering Activities (Museum)

Authors: Joshua Gutwill is Director of Visitor Research and Evaluation at the Exploratorium,San Francisco. Nina Hido is Senior Project Evaluator, Exploratorium. Lisa Sindorf is Research Associate, Exploratorium.

Curator: The Museum Journal,  Vol 58 Issue 2, April 2015

Article first published online: 20 MAR 2015 -

Abstract: As tinkering and making spaces proliferate in museums, many researchers, practitioners, funders, and policy-makers seek to understand what constitutes learning-through-tinkering. To support discussion of tinkering-based learning, the Exploratorium sought to articulate and refine a valid, evidence-based definition of learning in its permanent on-floor Tinkering Studio. We studied and made videos of fifty learners and their companions in one of three tinkering activities in the Tinkering Studio. A team of researchers and practitioners used the videos to refine frameworks for learning and facilitation (initially developed in a prior project), leading to the identification of four Dimensions of Learning and three broad Facilitation Moves. We created a Tinkering Library of Exemplars that categorizes over one hundred video clips according to these frameworks. The Library may help articulate important aspects of learning and facilitation, give voice to practitioners’ values in defining learning-through-tinkering, and lay a methodological foundation for gathering evidence for such learning. 



Jamie B.'s picture

Hello Sylvia,

The Framework is actually available for free on the Exploratorium's website, all that we have to pay for is access to their academic analysis paper. R.I.P. Aaron Swartz.