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Research Brief

Children's STEM-Focused Podcasts as Promising Learning Experiences: Research Summary

July 7, 2021 | Media and Technology

Kid-focused STEM podcasts have grown in popularity over the years, but the ISE field lacks knowledge of the impact and value of this medium as a means for engaging children and families in science learning and discovery. This research summary shares the results of an exploratory study of the popular children's science podcast, Brains On!, in an effort to being to fill this knowledge gap.

​The research was guided by three overarching research questions:

  1. Who is the audience for Brains On! and what are their motivations for listening to children’s science podcasts?
  2. How are Brains On! listeners using the podcast and engaging with its content?
  3. What kinds of impacts does Brains On! have on its audiences?

These questions were answered through a three-phase mixed-methods research design. Each phase informed the next, providing additional insights into answering the research questions. Phase 1 was a review of a sample of secondary data in the form of audience comments and feedback gathered by the Brains On! team and posted by listeners online. Phase 2 was an online survey of Brains On! listeners, with a focus on understanding Brains On!’s core audience of children ages 5 to 12. Phase 3 was group interviews with listener family groups that included members of the core audience.

This Research Summary provides an overview of what the research uncovered over the course of the exploratory study related to the three research questions.

We hope the results of this study will benefit the informal science education field by beginning to fill a gap in the current knowledge-base around the potential for science children's podcasts to contribute to a wide range of informal science learning outcomes for children and families, as well provide insight into what features of children's science podcasts can lead to those outcomes.


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    Principal Investigator
    Science Museum of Minnesota
  • REVISE logo
    Science Museum of Minnesota
  • REVISE logo
    Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Juan Dominguez-Flores
    Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Citation


    Funding Program: NSF AISL
    Award Number: 1713479
    Funding Amount: $200,000
    Resource Type: Research | Research Products
    Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
    Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Pre-K Children (0-5) | Families | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
    Environment Type: Media and Technology | Broadcast Media | Websites, Mobile Apps, and Online Media

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