Carme Prats, Jordi Flos


During 1986 and 1 987, an itinerant exhibition on "Ecology" written by Professor Margalef was followed in eight cities in Catalonia, (NE Spain). An extensive survey was carried out that included a survey on visitors' opinions and an experimental study on learning. This paper studies the relationships between opinions on the different environments of the exhibition (in terms of "Like", "Dislike" and "Surprise"), the physical and formal contents of the environments, and the time spent by visitors in front of each. We also analyse the results of an experiment on learning applied to students from four different age levels who used the exhibition as a complement to their formal studies. The experiment evaluated the most liked and the most disliked topics in the exhibition. The factors studied which could have sorne effect on marks obtained in an examination were: a) seeing the exhibition; b) having prepared something on ecology at school before visiting the exhibition; c) receiving a general introduction on how to look at an exhibition, just before the visit. The frequency of positive opinions on a given environment is inversely related to its density of information and directly related to the time spent looking at it. Students using the exhibition as a complement to their formal education only benefit if they like the exhibition (studied environment by environment). Having prepared something on ecology at school before visiting the exhibition has striking effects on teacher trainees, which raises serious questions about the way formal teaching is often carried out.

Paraules clau

Natural history; museum; exhibition; survey; learning; ecology

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