This is the second in a series of articles exploring what it means to be an educator in Victorian cultural organisations. If you have an idea for an article and would like to contribute please email us. Thank you Peter for this contribution. 

A research project at Sovereign Hill

Peter Hoban

Sovereign Hill Education 2015

In 2015 Sovereign Hill Education undertook a small research project to try to measure teacher learning in our outdoor museum. With over 11,000 adult days accompanying students at Sovereign Hill per year, the potential could be substantial.

We felt there were opportunities for teachers to learn not only about content but also about pedagogy and, perhaps, most importantly, about how their students learned outside their classroom. We were keen to find out if teachers learned by simply being in our museum (as museums are designed as places for learning, a certain amount of osmosis might occur) or if our education programs were a major factor.  As Sovereign Hill has no special resources to conduct visitor evaluation, this research had to be undertaken within the existing resources of our education team.

Since conducting this research, we are more confident that teachers do actually learn content and pedagogy and they are also keenly interested how their students respond to our practise. Most importantly, the data appears to demonstrate the importance of our education programs as the platform for teacher learning. It has given us the confidence to engage in some deep conversations with teachers around our education programs.

Sovereign Hill is unique in being an outdoor museum, and we are conscious that this research reflects our unique context. We are sharing this research in the hope that other museums might be able to use a similar model to develop a substantial case that profound teacher learning occurs in all museums.

Download the complete report here: 2015_PHoban_TeacherLearningReport