University of Oulu

Gabriella Tisza, Sofia Papavlasopoulou, Dimitra Christidou, Netta Iivari, Marianne Kinnula, Iro Voulgari, Patterns in informal and non-formal science learning activities for children–A Europe-wide survey study, International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, Volume 25, 2020, 100184, ISSN 2212-8689,

Patterns in informal and non-formal science learning activities for children : a Europe-wide survey study

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Author: Tisza, Gabriella1; Papavlasopoulou, Sofia2; Christidou, Dimitra2;
Organizations: 1Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
2Department of Computer Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
3INTERACT Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta, Malta, Malta
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-09-22


There is a growing number of informal and non-formal learning activities worldwide related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) curricular subject areas—particularly those involving coding and making. To better understand the general aim and content of such activities, we conducted a survey addressing highly experienced instructional designers and instructors of informal and non-formal science learning activities in nine European countries (N = 128). The goal of this paper is to investigate the relation between the gender of the activity leader experts, the target audience, the covered curricular subjects, the main goal, and the place of the activity. The results show that the gender and age of the participants are related to the covered curricular subjects and to the goal of the activity, and that the place of the activity is associated with all of the investigated dimensions. We introduce the patterns we identified that describe typical goals and the covered curricular subjects in relation to the participants’ gender and age along with patterns between the activity leader experts’ gender, the covered curricular subjects, and the main goal of the activity, as well as relationships between the studied dimensions and the place of the activity. Furthermore, we discuss the best practices and the bottlenecks of the activities, as well as detailed study findings regarding the revealed patterns, in addition to their implications and value for the informal and non-formal learning communities.

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Series: International journal of child-computer interaction
ISSN: 2212-8689
ISSN-E: 2212-8697
ISSN-L: 2212-8689
Volume: 25
Article number: 100184
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijcci.2020.100184
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement NO. 787476. This paper reflects only the authors’ views. The Research Executive Agency (REA) and the European Commission are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information the paper contains.
EU Grant Number: (787476) CoM_n_Play-Science - Learning science the fun and creative way: coding, making, and play as vehicles for informal science learning in the 21st century
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( nd/4.0/).