ChapterPDF Available

Using Personal Meaning Maps to Study the Relationship Between Visit Type and Learning in a Scientific Museum


Abstract and Figures

This case study method is based on a research conducted at the “Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci” in Milan and it is aimed at exploring how museum visitors’ learning and experience change due to the kind of visit they take part in. The research considers free tours, guided tours and interactive labs which are the three kinds of visits offered by the Museum. The method adopted is based on the Personal Meaning Mapping (PMM), a methodology commonly used in the museum studies field in order to assess visitors’ learning and perception about a topic. The PMM provides qualitative data that considers the background of the visitors before the visit and their new knowledge (thanks to the previous one) after the experience, giving to the subject the possibility to express his personal perception. The qualitative data is suitable to be interpreted through a quantitative analysis, after schematizing the visitors’ contributions in proper indexes. The paper describes how this methodology can be adapted to this specific research design, changing the frame of analysis of the gathered data and presenting how to use it. The paper provides also some general reflections about the issues to be considered if the PMM is adopted.
Content may be subject to copyright.
A preview of the PDF is not available
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
This study aims to investigate whether different types of museum visits have specific ways to influence the visitors' experience and learning. Three types of museum visits as offered by the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia "Leonardo da Vinci" in Milan, Italy were taken into consideration: free tour, guided tour, and lab. The study involved visitors over 25 years of age. The way visits took place, the visitors' learning and experiences were investigated based on evidence collected using methods such as Personal Meaning Mapping and observation. Our study has revealed that the outcomes of the visits vary in terms of visitor experience and depth of knowledge on the main subject. No significant differences were found as concerns the level of attention (visitors proved to be attentive while at the museum regardless of the type of visit).
Full-text available
Il presente lavoro intende esaminare il ruolo educativo dei musei, con particolare attenzione ai musei scientifici e agli science centre, nel contesto dei cambiamenti del ruolo sociale dei musei, della corrente evoluzione sociale e degli approcci all’educazione e all’apprendimento. L’analisi considera, in primo luogo, tendenze, studi e politiche a livello internazionale e, di seguito, il caso specifico dei Servizi educativi del MuseoNazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci.
Full-text available
This article presents results from an ongoing research project that investigates the experiences visitors find satisfying in museums. Using a list constructed from interviews with visitors and surveys, data were obtained from visitors in nine Smithsonian museums. Analysis of the results showed that experiences can be classified into four categories: Object experiences, Cognitive experiences, Introspective experiences, and Social experiences. The article points out that the type of most satisfying experience differs according to the characteristics of museums, exhibitions, and visitors. It also proposes an interpretation for these data, and suggests some possible applications.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The design of software for learners must be guided by educational theory. We present a framework for learner-centered design (LCD) that is theoretically motivated by sociocultural and constructivist theories of learning. LCD guides the design of software in order to support the unique needs of learners: growth, diversity, and motivation. To address these needs, we incorporate scaffolding into the context, tasks, tools, and interface of software learning environments. We demonstrate the application of our methodology by presenting two case studies of LCD in practice.
Full-text available
Various defenses of amodal symbol systems are addressed, including amodal symbols in sensory-motor areas, the causal theory of concepts, supramodal concepts, latent semantic analysis, and abstracted amodal symbols. Various aspects of perceptual symbol systems are clarified and developed, including perception, features, simulators, category structure, frames, analogy, introspection, situated action, and development. Particular attention is given to abstract concepts, language, and computational mechanisms. 3 I am grateful for the time and energy that the commentators put into reading and responding to the target article. They raised many significant issues and made many excellent suggestions. Even the strongest criticisms were useful in clarifying misunderstandings and in addressing matters of importance. I have organized the commentaries into two general groups: (1) commentaries that defended amodal symbol systems, (2) commentaries that addressed the properties of perceptual symbol systems. Because the second group was so large, I have divided it into four smaller sections. In the first, I address a wide variety of issues surrounding perceptual symbol systems that include perception, features, simulators, frames, introspection, and so forth. The final three sections address the topics raised most often: abstract concepts, language, and computational mechanisms.
Social Design in Museums: The Psychology of Visitor Studies Volume One
  • S Bitgood
Bitgood, S. (2011), Social Design in Museums: The Psychology of Visitor Studies Volume One, MuseumsEtc.
Behind the Scenes at the Museum: the why and the wherefore
  • B Cook
  • C Cousens
Cook, B. & Cousens, C. (2009), Behind the Scenes at the Museum: the why and the wherefore. Project Report. University of Brighton.
Personal meaning mapping'. In: Museums and creativity: A study into the role of museums in design education
  • J H Falk
Falk, J. H. (2003). 'Personal meaning mapping'. In: Museums and creativity: A study into the role of museums in design education.