Horses in Agriculture Online: Designing, Developing, and Assessing Situational Interest in an Online Museum Exhibit Using the Systems Approach Model of Instructional Design

Elise Anne Lofgren, Purdue University


Research on motivations of learners has been done in traditional museum environments, but the research of online museum exhibits is in its infancy. While variables such as interactivity have been explored in traditional museum exhibits, little is still known about how these variables affect visitor experiences in online applications. It is important to know if the application of technology into these programs, such as online learning experiences and corresponding characteristics such as interactivity, free-choice use, and adaptive/adaptable e-learning effects the learner experience. This study follows a formal process of instructional design to develop an online educational resource to be used for both formal and informal learning experiences. Specifically, the design, development, and assessment of an online museum exhibit about the horse’s historical and current day impact on agriculture. This process was guided by the systems approach model of instructional design. This study took place in multiple parts that are the necessary steps of the Dick and Carey systems approach model. The online museum exhibit that resulted from this process was then evaluated by looking at the facet of situational interest for both informal and formal audiences, as well as whether the specific online exhibit characteristics of free-choice, adaptability, and interactivity affect situational interest in the online museum exhibit. This exhibit was intentionally designed, using specific online exhibit characteristic variables, to stimulate situational interest in both formal and informal learning environments and evaluated using a modified, validated situational interest survey instrument. The results indicated situational interest in both informal and formal groups and the variables of previous years of horse experience, free-choice, interactivity, and adaptability were identified as predictors of situational interest in the online exhibit of the formal group. Specifically, the variable of free-choice learning was responsible for over 40% of the explained variance in situational interest in the formal group, which provides implications of future research in the integration of free-choice opportunities in the formal education domain.




Brady, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Instructional Design|Agricultural education

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