Science Communication Training: What are We Trying to Teach?
Baram-Tsabari, Ayelet; Lewenstein, Bruce
The rapid growth in public communication of science and technology has led to a highly diverse and large number of training programs. Using a learning-centered approach, we ask: What are the learning goals of science communication training? As the science communication field matures, a comprehensive set of learning goals for future trainings will draw fully from the range of fields that contribute to it. Learning goals provide a framework for deciding what to count as success and how to gather evidence of learning. Based on the six strands of learning developed for “learning science in informal environments”, we built a conceptually-coherent definition of science communication learning that addresses affective issues, content knowledge, methods, reflection, participation, and identity. We then reviewed dozens of research articles describing science communication training for scientists, identifying both explicit and implicit learning goals. Classifying them with our conceptual definition, we identified gaps in the outcomes commonly used for training programs; these gaps appeared especially in the areas of affective learning and identity formation. We do not expect any one program would attempt to achieve all learning goals. Different courses might be tailored differently for training scientists who remain in science, who wish to become journalists, who wish to work for museums, etc. But we believe that conceptual coherence can help course designers identify important goals. Creating a common language will increase the ability to compare outcomes across courses and programs, identifying approaches that best fit particular education, training, and communication contexts.
This work was supported by Cornell-Technion Faculty Exchange Program, administered by the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute. Ayelet Baram-Tsabari was also supported by a grant from the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and the Israel Science Foundation (No. 1716/12).
science communication; informal science education
Previously Published As
Baram-Tsabari, Ayelet, & Lewenstein, Bruce V. (2017). Science Communication Training: What are We Trying to Teach? International Journal of Science Education -- Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, 7(3), 285-300