Do Not Touch the Paintings! The Benefits of Interactivity on Learning and Future Visits in a Museum

Abstract. Educators and museum curators have recognized the value of interactivity, but it remains unclear what is the right level of interactivity in informal learning settings, such as museums. In this study, we explore the effect of in- creasing levels of interactivity on learning performance and students’ intention for future museum visits. We developed an educational mobile application based on QR codes and quiz software, in order to augment visual arts comprehension during a visit to an art gallery. In addition to the mobile-based version of the game, a paper-based version was also employed followed by a controlled experiment. A total of 60 lyceum students (between 15 and 16 years old) participated in a between-groups evaluation that compared the performance of three levels of interactivity (passive guided tour, paper-based, mobile-based), as well as the perceptions among the groups. The results indicate that the mobile-based student group had higher performance in the post-assessment when compared with the paper-based one. Notably, perceived interest for the game affects students’ perceptions for a future museum visit. Further research should consider the effects of higher-fidelity types of mobile applications, such as 3D graphics, as well as augmented-reality games.

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