Let's Talk: A Meta-Conversation about Dialogue Evaluation
The Let’s Talk project examined what we know and don’t know about dialogue-based programs in museums. Through research, a symposium and an experimental graduate course, the project created a set of priorities and resources for moving dialogue work forward, developed new relationships across STEM based and cultural based museums and prepared a pool of pre-professionals to enter the field with knowledge of the value and potential of dialogue. The project ends with a call for further articulation and appropriate measurement of the intended and possible impacts and further development of field-wide infrastructure for dialogue-based programs. Evaluation included feedback surveys from symposium participant and a course evaluation from the students who participated in the 2016 Dialogue Course at University of Washington and interviews conducted by Randi Korn, project evaluator. As the project concluded, Randi Korn conducted interviews with five symposium participants a year after the symposium to explore their reflections and involvement in dialogue work in museums. Three individuals interviewed work in science museums/centers, one works in an art museum, and one is a consultant to organizations that seek training in dialogue practice. Data show that interviewees reflect a range of experience with dialogue-based programming—from “desire to practice” to “advanced practice”; and the data also show a range of organizational commitment—from “weak commitment” to “strong commitment.” In the attached report, Randi Korn suggests that respondents and the organizations in which they work illustrate the hills and valleys of dialogue practice and organizational commitment that exist across the informal learning landscape.