Things to Try

To apply the ideas presented in this chapter to informal settings, consider the following:

  • Share Perry’s six-component motivation model with staff and consider whether or how it can be used in your setting. The case study of exhibit design can be used as a starting point for discussing whether Perry’s motivation model would be helpful in your setting. If so, choose a particular exhibit or program and discuss how each component of the model could be used to design or modify a participant’s experience in your setting.

  • Consider ways to excite interest in a program or exhibit. The research indicates that piquing participants’ interest is an important step in bringing about self-motivation. Discuss how this finding applies to your setting. What strategies have you tried in the past? Based on what you have read, are there other strategies that might be effective in getting participants’ attention, sparking their interest, and sustaining it?

  • Assess experiences for unintended negative emotions. Just as positive emotions can trigger learning, negative emotions can be a turnoff. Which aspects of the informal science experience that you offer might be confusing, overwhelming, or inadvertently unpleasant in any other way? Have you layered the experience sufficiently to make it beneficial and enjoyable to visitors or audiences who approach it with different levels of interest?

  • Consider how your experience can tap into the multiple identities that visitors bring to the experience. Falk’s model explains five identity-related motivations that lead visitors to different kinds of experiences. Can this model be applied in your setting to tailor experiences that meet the needs of these different kinds of visitors? Discuss how this could be accomplished; one possibility is to design an exhibit or experience specifically for one of these types of visitors. Assess whether it was successful and how additional experiences could be designed for other types of visitors highlighted in this model. Consider the overall balance of experiences your institution provides for the five situated identities. Are there opportunities for reflection and restoration in a noisy and active environment? Are there opportunities to explore and seek new experiences even for those who visit multiple times? Can you provide visitors or participants with

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