Interpretation : Informal Education Method in Museums and Parks
Interpretation is an informal educational method used to communicate the meaning and value of resources, and is used widely in museums, zoos, and parks. Shanta Rose shows us how the Mer Bleue Boadwalk Trail in Ottawa, Canada, created an interpretative walkway for its National Park. It relies on providing high-quality, reinforcing communications at moments when visitors are awed by their surroundings. The 'aha' moment, so to speak, is a teachable moment as well as a moment when learning just takes place.
No wonder that my kids love visiting the Asian Civilizations Museum at Empress Place,Singapore. It is full of these intepretative trails. Aside from loving the light-and-sound play at the 'grown-up' exhibits, there is a room for kids that has learning activities, video storyteller kiosks, and games. These combine intepretation, games and play to reinforce knowledge about Asian culture. The kiosks are found in all museum exhibit halls, and it combines with interactive exhibits to give a multi-modal, multisensory learning experience. I especially love beautiful displays of exquisite Islamic-Arabic calligraphy in the Koran. As you marvel at these you refer to the short descriptions, videos and cameos of how artisans painstakingly craft the script as their tribute to Allah.
Ellen Dornan of the University of New Mexico shows us how to use interpretation in a content-driven design model for designing games and simulation. This model offers a middle path—combining interpretive principles and game design principles with an instructional design process—in order to maximize motivation, engagement, and retention of the computer-based instruction.