Paper Session 5: Extending Reality – Technology as a Bridge II

Tuesday, April 4th: 1:15pm - 2:45pm

Location: Room 125

From sea to screen: Bringing the ocean inland with online learning at the Monterey Bay Aquarium


While museums have been providing distance learning opportunities for over thirty years, the demand for online education programs skyrocketed in the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic. Environmental organizations faced the added challenge of moving outdoor education to digital platforms. The Monterey Bay Aquarium responded by rapidly developing English and Spanish self-paced online courses for PK-12 students and their caregivers.

In 2022, the Aquarium partnered with Audience Focus for an in-depth study of the online courses, uncovering the motivations and satisfaction of the courses’ main audiences. It also measured how well the courses met the intended learning outcomes, and how they impacted user affinity for the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Building User Experience (UX) Capacity to Support Digital Transformation in Museums


To take full advantage of the potential offered by the digital space, museums and cultural institutions must be able to consistently apply User Experience (UX) methods to create enjoyable and understandable digital interfaces. Unfortunately, many of these organizations lack internal UX expertise, which means they need to partner with costly outside vendors to provide digital expertise, rely on internal staff and struggle through a process of trial and error, or do nothing and fall further behind in their digital offering. The COVID-19 crisis has intensified the digital transformation of museums. Although many museums are welcoming people back into their galleries, visitors’ demand for enjoyable digital experiences will persist. Absent a foc

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