Solitary vs. shared: Exploring the social dimension of museum learning

Packer, Jan and Ballantyne, Roy (2005) Solitary vs. shared: Exploring the social dimension of museum learning. Curator: The Museum Journal, 48 2: 177-192.

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Author Packer, Jan
Ballantyne, Roy
Title Solitary vs. shared: Exploring the social dimension of museum learning
Journal name Curator: The Museum Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0011-3069
Publication date 2005-01-01
Year available 2005
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 48
Issue 2
Start page 177
End page 192
Total pages 16
Editor Zahava D. Doering
Kay Larson
Place of publication New York, United States of America
Publisher AltaMira Press
Language eng
Subject 400301 Museum Studies
Abstract The literature suggests that the social dimension is an important aspect of museum learning. Many visitors report having discussed or shared information with their companions. There is also evidence, however, that some museum visitors prefer to visit alone or to learn by themselves. This study explores qualitative and quantitative differences in the nature and outcomes of solitary and shared museum learning experiences. Forty solitary adults and 40 adults visiting in pairs were observed and interviewed during their visit to a museum exhibition area, and a proportion of participants were contacted by telephone four weeks after the visit. The findings challenge the supposition that social interaction is more beneficial to learning than a solitary experience and suggest that, for adult learners, solitary and shared learning experiences can be equally beneficial but in different ways.
Keyword museum learning
museum visitors
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Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Created: Fri, 05 Aug 2005, 10:00:00 EST by Miranda Newell on behalf of School of Tourism