fbpx Staff training in the aftermath of a pandemic | Ecsite

Staff training in the aftermath of a pandemic

Remote and virtual engagements during the pandemic changed how visitors interact with the science centre. In its aftermath, we are left with new digital tools at our disposal to shape experiences that blend digital and physical interactions and deepen visitor engagement. How well equipped are science centre staff to take advantage of these possibilities? What knowledge, skills and tools do staff need to engage in the design and support of blended visitor-centred experiences? What lessons can we draw from the staff learning that happened on the back of rapidly adjusting the visitor offer during the pandemic? In this interactive session we will share experiences of training and upskilling the science centre workforce for the blended visit era. Discussions will focus on training needs, new modes of training, and training through/in visitor-centred design. The session will be of interest to educational programme developers, front-of-house staff, in-gallery explainers, and their managers.


image of Giasemi Vavoula
Associate Professor
University of Leicester
United Kingdom

Session speakers

Senior staff of Education & Public Engagement
The use of a blended approach in staff training. A few years back Tom Tits Experiment tried to adapt a blended approach when training our explainer staff. We used in-house training videos to support and strengthen the staff. We also did a feasibility study and a test where digital micro-reflections and data analysis could strengthen learning, training, and collaboration. This wasn’t maintained or implemented. Was it just that we were ahead of our time? What have we learned? Are we ready to retry in a post-covid era?
Torhild Skåtun
Museum Educator PhD reseacher
Staff development through co-design: Training of science museum and centers staff using a collaborative design approach involving science explainers in development of visitor programs. The presentation will focus on how programs and outreach activities will profit on bringing together different competencies in a blended format. Furthermore, in what way may the training take advantages of a blended approach - on site and online, in creating together for a more meaningful visitor experience.
Head of program and co-operations
In a blended approach to staff training it is crucial to focus on the needs and demands of the user (our colleagues AND our visitors). A user centred methodology for creating and executing a training program allows participants to experience the advantages of the methodology and tools. Placing the science centre professional at the centre, offers the possibility to discover new ways of visitor participation and co-creation.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow
University of Leicester
United Kingdom
I will lead a discussion on skills developed by science centre educators and science explainers during the pandemic, including what we wished to have known to deal with the challenges of the time and what we wish to know in the post-pandemic era in order to maintain and further develop skills for delivering online, blended and face-to-face experiences that maximise visitor satisfaction and learning. The discussion will also consider implications on staff development and wellbeing.
The School for science facilitation is a professional training centre run by Universcience. With the pandemic, we worked with researchers and science explainers to analyse the changes in practices linked to digital technology. We also imagine together the training needs associated. It became clear that cannot be reduced to training in digital tools, but also reflection on the digital uses of the public, on the specificities of face-to-face/remote and on ways to acquire and use new skills.