Informal & Formal Science Education

One could broadly classify science education experiences into two types–one that takes place in traditional classroom settings during traditional school hours and one that takes place everywhere and everytime else. The first type–formal science education–is what we typically think of when we talk about learning science. There is usually a set curriculum, a teacher, some type of assessment, a time limit, etc.

Hybrid Science Education


  • Increase accessibility and attractiveness of science learning (CAISE2010)


  • Hybrid activities fall outside the realm of traditional organizations and standards
  • Few good (valid/reliable) assessments available
  • Not a priority for either type of institution

Why are these activities worth the trouble?

  1. People need to go beyond science knowledge to develop scientific literacy. Hybrid activities are rich and multi-layered, providing opportunity for a variety of experiences and ways of knowing. They foster personal and social connections, showcasing science as a “human endeavor” (citation?) and highlighting its relevance to daily life. No single institution can provide this experience.
  2. Deep learning develops over multiple settings and timeframes. One class is not enough. One book is not enough. One field trip is not enough.
  3. Traditional science does not engage a large part of society. We need something innovative to reach minorities (including women and those with physical and other disabilities). Bring audiences and opportunities together (CAISE2010).