Museums, science centres, zoos, aquariums, and all other informal learning environments are places where attitudes and values towards science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) can be positively influenced. We all play our part in the learning and engagement ecosystem. Informal learning environments not only provide inspiring, engaging, and memorable experiences, they are also well placed to connect, support and complement other learning opportunities – in schools, at home, and out and about.
By working and experimenting with the guidance and recommendations from both science capital and science engagement research we, at the Science Museum Group, have been making sense of what we can do to use and apply the insights into good practice. The result of this work is summarised in our ‘Engaging all audiences with STEM: An equitable approach informed by science capital’ booklet.
The booklet shares how we have been working with the concept of science capital and the opportunities and benefits it can bring to informal learning environments like ours.
It also looks at some of the many practical questions and considerations that we can make to reflect on our STEM engagement experiences. It includes our core engagement reflection points, which are key ideas that are drawn from science capital and wider engagement research that should be considered when developing and delivering any type of audience engagement experience.
There is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to using and applying research, and not all informal learning environments are the same. But we all have our own different opportunities in the work that we do, and ultimately, if we can all work together to make our STEM experiences accessible for the widest possible audiences, we can maximise the impact of what we do, for everyone.