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The significance of "learning episodes" for learning in museums

Realistic Depictions


April 2008 - December 2010


Budget resources of KMRC within the framework of the special budget "informal learning"


The relevance of museums as places for learning, their unique object-oriented and spatial approach, a psychologically substantiated understanding of learning episodes that might occur around exhibition units in museums, as well as the potential contributions of digital technologies to learning provided the background for the research project "Learning episodes in the museum". The project examined learning processes on the part of visitors in a history museum. We proposed that exhibition visits consist of definable episodes that are to a large degree self-determined by the visitors according to their interests and prior knowledge, associatively linked and varying as far as depth of cognitive processing and individual or social nature are concerned. The main research goal of our project was to gain insights into informal learning by observing, predicting and verifying (or falsifying) the occurrence of learning episodes in the field, based on preconditions like exhibition design and visitor variables. This research aimed at refining our "model of learning episodes" and to derive design recommendations for successful learning from museum exhibitions.

This research was conducted in cooperation with the Haus der Geschichte, Stuttgart.


  • Haus der Geschichte Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart