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Kim, Kyungyoun (2009) MUSEUM SIGNAGE AS DISTRIBUTED MEDIATION TO ENCOURAGE FAMILY LEARNING. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Many prior studies conducted in museums have focused primarily on exhibits as the main objects for learning. Less progress has been made in studying signage as another meaning-making tool in museums. The present study was designed to understand the role of signage in family learning by answering the following research questions, "How does signage about exhibit content or interaction strategies affect parents' and children's learning and their engagement?" and "What is the role of parent prior knowledge on parents' and children's learning and their engagement?" To address these questions, 45 parent-child dyads with children aged six to seven years were recruited to engage with two exhibits about cars. Fifteen parent-child dyads were assigned to each of three conditions, created by two different types of signage: 1) Content and interaction signage condition, 2) Content signage condition, and 3) No signage condition. In each condition, eight parents with low knowledge in the car domain and seven parents with high knowledge were recruited. Findings showed that parents and children learned and engaged differently across the three signage conditions. Both children and parents in the conditions with signage learned more than children and parents in the no signage condition. By using information from signage, parents in the two signage conditions were able to identify the content of the exhibit more quickly and to shape appropriate educational messages in their conversations with children. Findings also showed that parents with high knowledge were more likely to have the exhibit-focused engagement, which was often oriented to their own interpretation and not always beneficial for children's learning. However, by showing that parent-child dyads in the content and interaction signage condition were most likely to operate and observe the exhibit appropriately and most likely to describe evidence and make appropriate inferences, this study suggested that the interaction signage can be a way to support parents with high knowledge. This study suggested that signage is not only a tool for communicating about the learning opportunities in the exhibit but it can be also a tool for mediating the usage of the exhibit.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCrowley, Kevincrowleyk@pitt.eduCROWLEYK
Committee MemberSchunn, Christianschunn@pitt.eduSCHUNN
Committee MemberForman, Elliceellice@pitt.eduELLICE
Committee MemberFord, Michaelmjford@pitt.eduMJFORD
Date: 15 June 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 10 December 2008
Approval Date: 15 June 2009
Submission Date: 14 April 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Early science learning; Museum learning
Other ID:, etd-04142009-105008
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:40


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