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Abstract Title: Developing a tool to measure interest in audiences of a virtual planetarium show
Abstract: Informal learning environments often have a clear ambition to spark interest [1]. People also need multiple exposures to content [2, 3] to learn. The Dome+ model was developed to guide the Big Astronomy Project, a planetarium show and additional resources, to help support audiences in extending engagement beyond the physical space of the planetarium show. A main design principle was sparking interest through the immersive environment of the show. The Big Astronomy Project released the show as a YouTube 360? stream rather than in domes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here we test the utility of the four-phase interest model [4] for characterizing interest surrounding the planetarium for use in our larger dataset. The four-phase model suggests people progress from earlier phases of situational interest induced by the environment to later phases of individual interest marked by self-driven engagement. We use this model to characterize the role the show plays in audience interest and, more importantly, look for the role of interest in a virtual environment. For our test, we used focus groups with audience members on our premiere day of the planetarium show consisting of eight individuals, and included follow-up interviews with five of those individuals to understand how they continued their engagement with Big Astronomy. Everyone indicated that they chose to come to the show because of an established interest in astronomy. Since self-induced engagement is an aspect of phases 3 and 4, we placed all participants in phases 3 to 4. Our data lacked people who fell into the situational interest phases. We suggest that the essence of virtual learning will attract individuals who have an individual interest. We plan to use this research as a tool for the analysis of the larger dataset that includes a more diverse set of individuals.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session 1 Room B
Poster Number: 1B-8
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Jesica L Trucks
Abrams Planetarium/Department of Physics and Astronomy, Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
and Co-Presenter(s)
Gloria I. Lopez, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University

Kathleen A. Hinko, Department of Physics and Astronomy and Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University

Shannon Schmoll, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University