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What Makes Learning Fun?: Principles for the Design of Intrinsically Motivating Museum Exhibits [Kindle Edition]

Deborah L. Perry
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Although much has been written in recent years on what museum visitors actually experience, there is little research-backed guidance available for developing meaningful exhibits and programs for specific educational purposes. Deborah Perry looks at what we know about the experiences of people in museums and other informal learning settings, and then shares a set of tested principles and strategies—known as the Selinda Model—for the design of effective museum exhibits. Along the way, she showcases examples of both effective and ineffective exhibit designs drawn from two decades of work in the field.

Editorial Reviews


[T]he greatest strength of the book is its focus on application of the principles. Each of the six chapters in Part Two addresses one of the motivations listed along the base of the Selinda model and provides strategies for implementing each principle. ... As she presents each new principle or strategy, she revisits the earlier cited exhibit redesign and discusses how her redesign employed that principle or strategy. This helps illustrate her ideas, and her explanations are generally very helpful. The inclusion in Appendix A of photos and illustrations of that exhibit before and after the redesign also proves helpful. This book is. . . well written and it is a fairly quick read. ... It was refreshing to read a book in which someone borrowed from instructional design to enhance practice in her field. (Educational Technology)

Deborah Perry's interesting, accessible, and highly useful book, What Makes Learning Fun?, provides insights into how museums can design and evaluate for learning. ... What Makes Learning Fun? is thought-provoking. ... Perry has written a highly accessible book grounded in both theory and practice. The field will benefit from her expansive view on learning and comprehensive ideas about design. . . . The Selinda Model is an exceedingly useful professional tool for discussion, debate, and design, especially recommended for staff, both veteran and novice, looking for new ways into thinking and talking about learning in museums. What Makes Learning Fun? does the museum field a great service by broadening and deepening the conversation about our work. (Visitor Studies)

Deborah L. Perry has taken a fresh look at an old question—how visitors learn in museums—and given us a set of very practical strategies and tools for designing exhibits. This is no ordinary how-to guide, however. One of the great strengths of the book is that it is grounded in a whole history of solid research. Making learning fun is serious business, but Perry manages to practice what she preaches, giving us a book that is engaging, easy to use, and eminently applicable to museum work today. (Lisa Roberts, Independent Consultant for Museums)

The Selinda Model of visitor learning provides a powerful, robust, and flexible construct for considering and facilitating learning that is useful for the ambitious and often nuanced aspirations of professionals working in informal learning environments. I’ve followed the development of Deborah Perry’s ideas and her model of learning for decades and am thrilled that I can finally share her ideas with colleagues and students. (Kris Morrissey, University of Washington)

Deborah Perry’s book offers a coherent approach to designing engaging learning experiences in museums, science centers, zoos, and the like. The book lays out a clear design process and offers, within this design framework, a series of applied principles that are well supported in the visitor studies literature. Deborah’s years of experience in combination with thoughtful analysis of the learning process have resulted in a useful manual for practitioners, be they educators, exhibit designers, or evaluators. (Stephen Bitgood, Jacksonville State University)

About the Author

Deborah L. Perry, Ph.D. is the director of Selinda Research Associates in Chicago. She specializes in research on and evaluation of the museum visitor experience.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3724 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press (May 4, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,398 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! September 13, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding resource for museum professionals and educators alike. It is a very readable book, yet carefully referenced and supported by current and historical work in the museum field. Using a real-world exhibit as a case study, the author brings together visitor studies, exhibit design, informal learning, and instructional design into one remarkable book. I highly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book March 10, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great case study book. If you are interested in this type of educational design I would recommend. It arrived on time and in the condition described.
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More About the Author

Deborah L. Perry, Ph.D. is the director and founder of Selinda Research Associates in Chicago. She has spent over twenty-five years conducting research and evaluation in informal learning settings. With a background in instructional systems technology and a passion for what makes learning fun, she has served as a consultant, workshop leader, conference presenter, researcher, evaluator, and instructional designer. As a child she lived in a tiny village in Zimbabwe called Mt. Selinda, situated in the middle of the Chirinda Forest, a tropical rainforest in the Eastern Highlands. She uses the name Selinda to honor this beautiful country, which was so influential in her life.


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