- The exploratory behavior scale: assessing young visitors hands-on behavior in science museums
- Science Education
- Volume | Issue number
- 94 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
In this paper, we introduce the Exploratory Behavior Scale (EBS), a quantitative measure of young children's interactivity. More specifically, the EBS is developed from the psychological literature on exploration and play and measures the extent to which preschoolers explore their physical environment. A practical application of the EBS in a science museum is given. The described study was directed at optimizing parent guidance to improve preschoolers' exploration of exhibits in science center NEMO. In Experiment 1, we investigated which adult coaching style resulted in the highest level of exploratory behavior at two exhibits. In Experiment 2, we investigated whether informing parents about an effective way of coaching influenced preschoolers' exploratory behavior at two exhibits. The results of the study demonstrate the added value of the EBS in visitor behavior research: compared to existing global measures of visitor interactivity; the EBS adds information about the quality of the hands-on behavior. Compared to existing detailed measures of visitor interactivity, the EBS has the advantage of being applicable in different museum settings and enabling comparisons between exhibits or exhibitions. In addition, the EBS allows for quantification of unanticipated behavior.
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