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INFORMAL LEARNING AND ONLINE EXHIBIT Have you ever wondered about the science behind rock ‘n’ roll? How has technology shaped this multi-billion dollar industry? How can performers bring hundreds of thousands of screaming fans to their feet? What physiological effects does rock have on our brain and body? The Science of Rock ‘n’ Roll is a new traveling exhibition, which is now open at Kansas City Union Station. It provides a fresh look at the history of rock from the perspective of science and technology. See how music has shaped the tools of rock – and how those tools have changed the music. Experience science in the key of rock!

Introduction Bryan Reinblatt and Lance Brass, two Canadians who formed Elevation Productions, wanted to design an exhibit that was more than the history of rock ‘n’ roll. With the goal of offering a behind-the-scene look at how rock ‘n’ roll is made in a comedo rather than come-see exhibition. Visitors receive a “Backstage Pass” with a QR code to scan recordings of themselves singing, playing instruments, and other activities that will be emailed to them. They also can view sound memorabilia and instruments and watch videos explaining various sound aspects, e.g., mono, stereo, quadraphonic and surround sound. After I visited The Science of Rock ‘n’ Roll at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, and four hundred photographs afterward, the vision began to form: converting an informal online extension to the exhibition in a Moodle format without grades nor mandated learning. The following ADDIE report details how I moodle-ized the exhibit.

Introduction Analysis Project Objectives Context Media Delivery Audience Design Challenge Structure Topics Tools Media Learning strategies Assessment Support Development Strategy Prototype Key resources Tools Implementation Process Issues Evaluation Summary Changes Potential issues


ADDIE The ADDIE model, a method to systematically create instructional materials, derives its name from the five-phase process of analyzation, Cindy Higgins design, development, implementation, and evaluation. Analysis consists of looking at what is and what can be while design outlines the way to achieve desired goals. Once a prototype emerges in the development phase, it undergoes refinement during implementation. While formative evaluation is ongoing, summative evaluation occurs with and after feedback.


ANALYSIS Project This site combines a museum exhibit and Moodle with the goal of serendipity and knowledge utilization. Incorporating and building from the Science of Rock ‘n’ Roll exhibit, the site looks at the history of rock from the perspective of science and technology. It’s about the “how” of rock and roll rather than the “who, when, where, and why.”

Objectives The goal is for learners to explore the whole site and to do so voluntarily without being coerced to or being graded. Will the audience be open to this exploration? Nina Simon in The Participatory Museum wrote: This leads to an obvious question: does every visitor really want to participate in this manner in cultural institutions? No. Just as there are visitors who will never pull the lever on an interactive and those who prefer to ignore the labels, there are many visitors who will not choose to share their story, talk with a stranger, or consume visitor-generated content. There will always be visitors who enjoy static exhibitions conferring authoritative knowledge. There will always be visitors who enjoy interactive programs that allow them to test that knowledge for themselves. And there will increasingly be visitors — perhaps new ones — who enjoy the opportunity to add their own voices to ongoing discussions about the knowledge presented. ….How can cultural institutions use participatory techniques not just to give visitors a voice, but to develop experiences that are more valuable and compelling for everyone? This is not a question of intention or desire; it’s a question of design. Whether the goal is to promote dialogue or creative expression, shared learning or co-creative work, the design process starts with a simple question: which tool or technique will produce the desired participatory experience?

Context The physical exhibit begins with a poster series and then unfolds through the decades; three instruments — guitar, keyboards, drums; recording techniques; and concert experience. When taking this exhibit online, look to virtual field trips that allow learners to explore museum artifacts on the web similar to observation at a physical location. For example, a virtual museum experience may be found at the American Package Museum Art Gallery that displays artifact photographs or Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840–1860 from the National Gallery of Art that displays images with text explanations. Another way to display images is through Second Life. Online exhibits can be virtual informational kiosks of learning and the best ones allow learners to do more than look at images or simply read text.


Physical exhibits also can be the springboard for online lessons. This exhibit produced the Middle School Teacher’s Guide and High School Teacher’s Guide that offers similar lessons in geometry, algebra for guitars, Fibonacci Sequence, cryptograms, logic puzzles, and word searches, which turned out to be typical academic assignments using rock ‘n’ roll references. Of interest to a general audience are the timelines at course end. EMP Museum at Seattle Center devoted to the rock ‘n’ roll experience offers lesson plans that consist of reflection questions and additional online resources, including:

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Icons of Science Fiction Worn to Be Wild: The Black Leather Jacket The Art of Video Games Hear My Train a Comin': Hendrix Hits London

Media Given the projected desires of the learners and limitations of the physical exhibit, this stand-alone, image-abundant site needs to furnish a wealth of video and audio resources with URL exploration for added depth.

Delivery Delivery method is through the online learning management system Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment). While prerequisites are not obligatory for introductory courses, access to a computer with speakers and high-speed internet service are required. Ideally, learners are familiar with Moodle elements and its navigation; however, course design has been streamlined and simplified for non-Moodle users.

Audience The audience for this site isn’t as distinct as the audience for the physical site although both share the traits of being time-limited, motivated non-experts open to non-sequential sampling.1 Online visitors tend to be more diverse and used to hypertexuality rather than the linear content of a physical museum space.2 One online exhibit company said online exhibit visitors not only are diverse they have multiple learning styles that physical museums cannot adapt to because of constraints. For example, to reach disinterested visitors, online designers can use a multidisciplinary approach to encouraging further exploration and those with interest can delve deeper online and also explore ancillary topics. Linear thinkers can navigate in a clear hierarchical structure with "next" and "previous" links, while nonlinear thinkers can leap about with multiple hyperlinks or view an exhibit in alternate views such as a concept map. Graphic learners can be offered images, maps, timelines, and other items; auditory learners can access audio clips and stand-alone podcasts; verbal learners have site text, narrative captions, and sidebars; and kinesthetic learners can engage with movies, do-it-yourself activities, clickable illustrations, and concrete examples.3 That’s basically a green light to incorporate a multitude of features for audience attention, engagement, and retention! Demographics? The topic lends itself to expansion to anyone who likes rock ‘n’ roll over the age of 15 and probably incorporates more masculine features rather than feminine. Another visitor reviewing the site concurred about the extended age group: “Visiting the Science of Rock and Roll would be a perfect outing for senior groups and for families. This exhibit is also a great way to spark some intergenerational conversations, as visitors remember when various technologies were in use, or when 1

Serrell, Beverly, Exhibit Labels: An Interpretive Approach (Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press, 1996), 45. Museums and the Web 2000, at 3 Meeting Needs by WebExhibits 2


particular bands became popular.”4 Her comment regarding memory is one Marion Leonard in Exhibiting Popular Music: Museum Audiences, Inclusion and Social History Journal of New Music Research noted when he states the museum professional’s role was to arrange material for visitors to interpret by relying on personal and collective memory.5

DESIGN Given the projected desires of the learners, this site is designed to be stand-alone with video and audio resources. Deconstructing the exhibit has shown that it didn’t stay true enough to its theme and has design flaws. Because a closer examination has shown discordant elements, the design is by decade with a focus on technology. Thus, based on analysis, this site uses the colors of rock ‘n’ roll with a masculine edge; uses lots of images; is written in a casual, jaunty even style; employs multimedia (sounds, music, images, specific background scores, mood elements such as lighting) and interactivities for various learning styles; has opportunities for additional exploration; focuses on how sound has evolved over the decades and not lapse into a generalized history; and strives to not be merely an exhibit but an experience as the original Science of Rock ‘n Roll’s intent.

Challenge One design challenge is to convey the idea of exhibit, which requires context, so the site is not an archive catalog of images and documents. The options of delving deeper with weblinks and a variety of text offerings help avoid the database appearance.

Structure Each module in the Fusion theme offers highlights from each decade in the Moodle Lesson, followed by an artist spotlight, sound innovation, and fun quiz. Although the decade modules progress chronologically, none depend on each other for information, which echoes what exhibit designer Kathleen McLean has written: “Museum learning is self paced and exploratory rather than formalized, intensive learning.” To keep the course active, the Moodle Lesson tool is used and within each lesson are several sound/video activities as well are URL exploration for added depth. Each decade module, too, concludes with an interactive timeline allowing more video and pictorial exploration. The multimedia aspects are joined by a Moodle quiz with “next” and “to be continued” prompts to promote action.

Topics Sound innovators, “firsts,” definitions, and communication/technological advances comprise the nucleus of course offerings. 4

Norman, Rachel, (January 18, 2013), Exhibit Review: The Science of Rock and Roll, at Vol. 39 (2), 2010, 171-181.



Media YouTube videos are used extensively for mentioned artists. Each module also concludes with an interactive timeline hosting videos, URLs, and added text descriptions. Besides these developed features, also created for this site were a Prezi presentation in the opening module that incorporates multimedia in a non-linear experience as well as two short “slideshow” videos (rock posters and also guitars) with music.

Learning strategies To aid informal learning, relevant information is filtered and presented in short chunks to accommodate society’s ever-shrinking attention spans. Because effective informal learning strategies entail reading, watching videos, and using links to learn more, this site incorporates those elements. Learners also can decide how much they want to explore.

Assessment As this course is designed for informal learning, assessment is not used; however, each module contains a “just for fun” quiz in which learners can assess themselves.

Support At this point, skills needed to complete the course and navigate the site primarily consist of clicking a mouse button to activate a YouTube or access a link.

DEVELOPMENT Strategy While recognizing that developing a script and outline aids in organization, in this project exhibit assets, primarily photographs, provided the framing and the site built from them. And, while the original plan was to primarily use content from the exhibit’s teachers’ guide that plan quickly dissolved under content examination: its activities — word scramble, craft object construction, etc. — geared more toward mandated classroom activities and physical objects. Extensive text content development and research ensued.

Layout The image-dominant layout involved a lot of text alignment experimentation. Initially, text aligned left with images on the right. Then, it became obvious that larger images should be centered for optimum appearance, which required text in


several instances also to be centered. To draw attention to the images, text was kept in one color (black) on a white background.

Written content Because audience engagement was the course goal, writing was concise, in Associated Press style, appeared in short chunks, and had ample white space. To retain the feel of the exhibit, in several instances, photographs of exhibit labels appeared in place of text.

Resources Having hundreds of photographs is liberating, and knowing that the cultural aggregator role of the museum is to synthesize the best display and reference materials, recognized sources such as National Public Radio were used. YouTubes were chosen for their authenticity (e.g., live performance versus song playing to visual of record or slideshow) and lack of commercials.

Tools For photographs, Adobe Photoshop. Adobe Premiere Elements and Animoto proved useful for video production. TimeRime provided the base for the timelines. Moodle elements included Lesson, Page, Book, Quiz, and Database.

Quality assurance Course information also was compared to online sources as well as Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock and Roll.

IMPLEMENTATION Process The plan was to set up modules and keep fine-tuning them until the deadline.

Issues Almost every photograph had to be sized, cropped, enhanced, organized, and named—a very timeconsuming experience.

EVALUATION Summary Fortunately, four individuals looked at the course and agreed that they liked the images and noted that interactivity can be achieved by engaging images, links, videos, and other means. Suggested changes


were either works in progress or something out of control such as the right side section features. An additional reviewer has spent three separate nights on course and only has finished the first module!

Changes Tinkering with alignment and photos might need continued refinement.

Future issues Later versions of Moodle have a slideshow feature: That would be exciting to explore! An actual sound sharing option could be incorporated. A problem arose in that some of these YouTubes have an opening commercial, so further search for non-commercial YouTubes should be done.

CONCLUSION This project visualized Moodle differently and enlarged its slideshow and exhibit perspective. About experimentation, the MHA Institute wrote: Creativity is the ability to think and act in ways that are new and novel. In our minds, there are two kinds of creativity, innovation and invention. Innovation is thinking creatively about something that already exists (e.g., the tape recorder, Walkman, and CD player are all innovations on the phonograph). Invention is creating something that did not exist before (e.g. the phonograph). A business example illustrates the difference clearly. When a team bases its plans on the way the team has operated in the past, they are open only to innovation, such as increasing efficiency. However, a team that is inventive will ask itself: Can we create a different way to operate, one that will produce a different way of doing business? Experimentation is the process by which people become creative. When you experiment, you don't know the outcome. You can only guess. Often, experimentation leads to a surprise, something you didn't expect. This is the power of creativity.


APPENDIX Comments 

I thought you were able to make your course very consistent across all your topic areas. I wasn't able to find any inconsistencies in font, style, size or color

Graphics: This is probably the best aspect of your course - you have used your graphics to really enhance the learner's understanding of the exhibit. Each image relates very well to the content. I know it must have taken a while to get all those images uploaded and formatted the way you want, and you did a great job. I realize this course has no need for a syllabus, instructor information, etc. So, this aspect is N/A

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I thought your use of the topic summaries works very well. Loved the consistency of each image displaying parts of the exhibit.

I thought there could be more instructions about how to begin, or possibly something to help them navigate back to the course home page.

For example, when a user first sees the course, they see the nice exhibit image, and below that they see the "News forum" - they might click on it to find out what that is, and then they won't know what to do to get back to the page before unless they use the browser back button. You can include instructions in these types of activities to tell the learners how to get back to the main page. Sometimes a little sentence like, "Click the 'Rock' link in the breadcrumb trail to get back to the main course" OR you can add a link back to the main page in the instructions. (If you want to hide the News forum, you can turn editing on and then click the eyeball icon next to the forum. This hides it from the students. )

The Lessons forward them back to the course home page, but for some of the other activities it might be helpful to include these additional instructions.

I was looking at the list of Moodle tools to determine if there would be any others that might help with your course, but I don't think there are since your course is a supplement to an exhibit. I loved how you used the Lesson tools to give a more interactive slideshow. I thought your tools were very appropriate for your course. The database activity is very appropriate also. Let me know if you need any help understanding this activity since it is very powerful and you must define and set it up for it to work the way you want.

I thought for the objectives of your course you did a great job incorporating interaction needed. Since this is not a traditional course, it wouldn't be helpful to include discussion boards, chats or other items. I thought the items you did include really do speak to the objectives of what you are trying to accomplish with this Moodle course. Lessons, Links, Videos, and textual content are how your learners interact.


Your course is coming along very nicely! I can see all the images and videos in your course. I know that takes a lot of work to get all of them into the course and formatted correctly.

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Font (style, color, size) appears to be consistent, in good balance with reading from a monitor and reflects good application/integration.

Graphics displayed are of good quality; maybe center the graphics then apply text underneath left-justified.

Course information is not hard to find (no syllabus/grading policies are required for this course). Resources provided are in good balance.

Course is aligned and presented in a logical manner; great use of a 'timeline' method of presenting material

This course is designed as informational. The Moodle tools selected are appropriate for this project. Maybe use the Survey tool as a way to 'wrap up.' This project permits interaction for the student or learner. Overall, this project is a great alternative to online learning. Some graphics could use a second attempt at cropping and stylizing. It may be less taxing if the right section was removed as it can be a visual distraction to the viewer. I would like to see the database and how it is developed and refined--good choice of a Moodle tool!

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Formatting was consistent with good design.

Graphics were good quality and related to course topic

Course information such as syllabus and grading policy was not available but it may not be needed with the purpose of the course being a virtual tour.

Excellent sequencing of material and organization.

Very easy to navigate through the history of rock n roll!

Moodle tool of lesson was the primary tool and appropriate. It did a good job of guiding through each decade and providing video and resource links to provide examples of the era.

I really enjoyed the course because a fan of the topic! I thought it did a good job of breaking down the genres of music and the people and technology that influenced them. Videos implemented were excellent examples!


I really like the Spotlight additions and the timeline as a conclusion page was a great idea!

I did find a link not working. In the first Lesson, on the first page, the link to "The Science of Rock ‘n Roll exhibit" needs to be fixed.

…………………………. I like the clean banner on the top of the site. The navigation bar that starts with the search forums makes the site feel lopsided. Cool picture. Identify what the numbers are going down the page, I was confused a bit on wither these were the lectures or not. Really like how each lecture follows the same outline with the spotlight and everything. like the pictures that follow the lecture titles. Maybe darkening the lines separating all the lectures. Like how white and clean it is.



Details planning process of online instructional class based on museum exhibit

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