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The Learning Science in Informal Environments Study in Context


  • David A. Ucko

    1. ( is division director (acting) of the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings, Directorate for Education and Human Resources, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230.
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Abstract  The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the National Research Council report Learning Science in Informal Environments to synthesize the growing body of diverse research underlying informal science learning. Intended outcomes were to establish a base for future research, to provide evidence-based guidance for those developing and delivering informal learning experiences, to broaden the definition of “learning” beyond that typically used in formal education, to encourage knowledge sharing across the heterogeneous informal science education field, and to provide a measure of external validation for the value of learning in informal settings. NSF investment in this study is part of a larger ongoing effort by the Informal Science Education program to advance knowledge and practice and build capacity in the field.