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Discussing the role of conversation in learning at informal science institutions

Abstract

"The body of work that examines conversation in learning environments continues to grow seemingly exponentially. At the heart of much of this work is a sense that learning and conversation are somehow linked. This idea can be connected to the theories of Vygotsky (1978), which suggest that people learn by participating in social situations using tools like language. People then internalize the ideas that are expressed in interaction, inserting these ideas into complex networks of knowledge. What we would like to be able to do is identify how people learn in conversations so that we may plan for maximally effective informal learning environments that generate the kinds of conversation most likely to aid learning."

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