Systemic Impacts of LabVenture

Examining LabVenture's impact

This research project investigates the short-term and long-term impacts of the LabVenture program on Maine’s students, families, and learning communities in terms of their perception of and participation in formal and informal science learning. This research is conducted in partnership between researchers at GMRI, Oregon State University and TERC

This project seeks to understand and identify:

  • The community characteristics which lead to ongoing engagement in the LabVenture program.
  • The value Maine teachers and administrators place on informal science learning experiences and how those experiencesinfluence teacher practice and student learning.
  • The degree to which the LabVenture program impacts students’ science learning and feelings of belonging within the STEM discipline.
  • The aspects of the LabVenture program that have become part of Maine’s culture.
  • The degree to which a shared community experience like LabVenture leaves detectable “signals” that can be measured to understand broader community-level change.

This research examines the impact of the LabVenture program on Maine’s communities by employing an innovative research approach to understand and advance knowledge on the short- and long-term impacts of the program within different contexts. Specifically, this project seeks to identify what community benefits emerge when a large-scale informal science program like LabVenture is systematically implemented across a community over a significant period of time. A parallel research effort seeks to understand how a program like LabVenture can serve as a model for adoption of similar programs seeking innovative strategies to connect formal and informal science learning to achieve notable positive shifts in their local, statewide, or regional STEM learning ecosystems.

To answer these questions, this research project will curate and analyze extant data and retrospective data sources collected over the twelve year history of the LabVenture program, conduct semi-structured interviews with current participating students, teachers, and informal educators, and implement a statewide community study to illuminate the potential broader impacts of the program within and across Maine’s communities. The project will culminate with a practitioner convening to share project findings more broadly with formal and informal practitioners and promote transfer from research to practice.

Staff Contact

Amanda Dickes, Ph.D.
Amanda Dickes, Ph.D. Learning Scientist (207) 228-1677 [email protected]

Project Team