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Title: Non-formal learning in museums and galleries
Authors: Elwick, Alex Robert
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: A ubiquitous, but under-researched, phenomenon, non-formal learning represents all learning that does not fall under the heading of ‘formal’ that is to say that it is not an organised event or package; bound by a prescribed framework; marked by the presence of a designated teacher; or result in the award of a qualification. This research primarily aimed to investigate how non-formal learning takes place in museums and galleries: specifically exploring the differences and characteristics of non-formal learning between different groups of people. As well as an extensive literature review which draws together theoretical approaches from a wide range of fields/disciplines, the thesis outlines the development of a methodological tool entitled ‘The Dual Model’ which is a combination of models of skill acquisition and cultural capital. This model represents a new approach to the investigation of non-formal learning and this thesis explores its direct implementation as an evaluative tool. Implicit learning (a form of learning which is unconscious, either whilst it is taking place or in terms of the knowledge subsequently created) represents a focal point for the research. By scrutinising contradictions in visitors’ accounts of their museums visits, possible cases of implicit learning in context are identified and evaluated; a unique contribution to an understanding of how people learn non-formally without being aware of doing so. The research confirms a typology of non-formal learning which differentiates between explicit and implicit components and also provides evidence that there are identifiably different sets of characteristics which individuals might exhibit based upon their cultural capital, their relationship with the art field and their level of skill acquisition.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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