What’s New

Newly Funded: Taking Inclusive STEM Learning to the Next Level with Building Capacity for Autism Phase 2 Project!

Posted Mar 14, 2024

  ILI is thrilled to share our latest venture: “Broadening and Sustaining Capacity for Inclusive Informal STEM Learning Opportunities for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder”, funded by the AISL program at NSF. After a successful first round where we teamed up with four museums and informal learning and autism experts to make STEM learning more… (Read more)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: New Study Measures the Public Value of Art Museum Experiences

Posted Jun 8, 2023

  Research project featuring unique, cross-sectional consortium of 11 museums across the United States explores how art museums contribute to well-being   June 08, 2023—Following a large-scale, multi-institutional research project, the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) and a consortium of 11 museums across the United States have announced the results of a new study designed… (Read more)

NOW HIRING: Bilingual Spanish/English Interpreter

Posted Mar 21, 2023

(REMOTE CONTRACT POSITION) Description: The Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) is collaborating with the High Desert Museum in learning how to support family STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning in their community.   We are looking for a bilingual Spanish/English individual to join our research team as an interpreter and translator to examine the… (Read more)

Global Well-Being: A 5th Dimension of Value

Posted Nov 8, 2022

  Author: Dr. John H. Falk Those of you who have been following my work over the past couple of years know that I have been focused on defining and measuring the value of museums.  I have argued that most of a museum’s value lies within the experiences it creates. Historically, the value of a… (Read more)

Update: A new chapter for Dr. Dierking

Posted Jun 8, 2022

(Photo Dr. Lynn Dierking finds her niche in Marrakech – and with us!)   Dr. Lynn Dierking has always worn many hats but recently, she retired from Oregon State University after spending the past 15 years as a Sea Grant Professor of Free-Choice Learning. Now able to commit to our organization in a much greater… (Read more)

Stem Friends: Friendships and STEM interest

Posted Mar 30, 2022

Discovering the role that 4th and 5th-grade friendships have to play in children’s STEM interest Most parents understand that their child’s friendships hold great influence on their perceptions, hobbies, and interests – but today, our Data Scientist, David Meier, provides us with some interesting evidence that demonstrates how your children’s friends feel about STEM may… (Read more)


Posted Mar 28, 2022

    Chief Executive Officer Full-Time, Remote (can work anywhere in/near a major metro area) About ILI The Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) works with individuals, organizations, and communities to develop and support lifelong, free-choice learning as a mechanism for helping solve the major challenges facing humanity. The Institute for Learning Innovation imagines a future… (Read more)

The Power of Museums 2022

Posted Mar 25, 2022

From the International Council of Museums Portugal 2022 Many people report that museum experiences make them feel better about themselves, more informed, happier, healthier, and more enriched; all outcomes directly related to enhanced well-being. Historically, benefits such as enhanced well-being were seen as vague and intangible, recently, Dr. John H. Falk was at ICOM in… (Read more)

Take me to the science center!

Posted Mar 23, 2022

Evidence that visits to the local science center matter in children’s sense of scientific relevance and their own self-efficacy in science Analyses of data from our Multi-Modal Science Effects Study reveals a significant and positive relationships between visiting science centers and children’s perceived science relevance and science self-efficacy. Over 1,700 fifth and sixth-grade students were… (Read more)

Mapping ASD Inclusion: Navigating Information on Museum Websites

Posted Feb 8, 2022

  How do you plan a trip or a day out? If you’re like me, and the greater majority of Americans (Morning Consult, 2021), you use websites to help you plan your trip in advance. Websites are the go-to for learning about what adventures await us and if you are from a community who is… (Read more)

Ashanti Davis- Research Associate

Posted Jan 4, 2022

  We are thrilled to be able to include Ashanti Davis as part of our growing team! Described as an Artist, Thinker, Social Justice Advocate, and Museum Practitioner who believes in the power of art and creativity to create meaningful change, Ashanti has led interdisciplinary teams in the development of unique STEM experiences and exhibitions… (Read more)

Data Scientists : Tools of the trade

Posted Dec 8, 2021

  Today our Data Scientist, David Meier, talks about some of the tools he uses on a daily basis and why he chose them. Trying to change the oil in your car with a paintbrush would be quite a debacle. Most people have heard the adage, “The right tool for the job” and it is… (Read more)

Nicole Claudio – Research Associate

Posted Nov 22, 2021

After having the opportunity to work with her as an independent contractor – we are so pleased to announce that Nicole Claudio has joined ILI as a full-time Research Associate! Nicole is committed to understanding how museums and other free-choice learning environments can better serve all learners in their efforts to build a deeper understanding… (Read more)

A simple way to increase children’s perceived science relevance and science self-efficacy

Posted Nov 5, 2021

  Analyses of data from our Multi-Modal Science Effects Study: Institute for Learning Innovation study reveal a significant and positive relationship between family science TV show watching and science reading. Over 1,700 fifth and sixth-grade students were asked to rate their level of agreement to eight statements designed to measure a perceived relevance of science… (Read more)

Funders and Museums: A New Form of Partnership

Posted Nov 2, 2021

  This article is a conversation between a funder and a museum practitioner, exploring a new form of partnership. How do funders support important changes in the museum field? How do museums work collaboratively with funders, while maintaining vision and integrity? Brittany Vernon, Director of Awards & Cohorts, Evaluation and Learning & Engagement at Art… (Read more)


Posted Sep 29, 2021

  We are so pleased to share that The W.K Kellogg Foundation has presented the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) with a $10,000 donation. Founded in 1930 by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, WKKF is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to… (Read more)

Dr. John H. Falk’s latest book is here!

Posted Sep 23, 2021

 We are so excited to announce the arrival of this highly anticipated book. Written by our own Dr. John H. Falk,  The Value of Museums: Enhancing Societal Well-Being provides a timely and compelling way for museum professionals to better understand and explain the benefits created by museum experiences. The key insight this book advances is… (Read more)

Connected Audience 2022: An Update

Posted Aug 30, 2021

    Exploring the Evidence for Cultural Institutions‘ Relevance April 2022 The Connected Audience Conference 2022 will address the pressing issue of Public Value and Relevance. We invite you to join your colleagues from around the world to explore the role that cultural organizations can, do, and should play in our communities. The Conference will be virtual and take place over… (Read more)

FLAME Receives IMLS Award

Posted Aug 18, 2021

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT   Many of us reach museum leadership roles with a strong background in the content area, but rather less training in business and leadership. That’s why we’re so thankful to be able to announce that last week we were awarded an IMLS grant that supports ILI’s work with one of our allied organizations… (Read more)

Evidence that parental and caregiver support matters in their children’s STEM interest

Posted Aug 5, 2021

Most people would agree with the assumption that parental and/or caregiver support greatly influences their children’s interest and attitudes towards science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Today, however, our Data Scientist, David Meier, provides us with some evidence that this is more than a hopeful assumption by sharing results from two of our projects. Analyses… (Read more)

A love for learning and the VSA

Posted Jul 8, 2021

Next week is my official first week as the Secretary for Visitor Studies Association. I joined the board in an interim capacity in December and I am excited to now join the group in this official capacity. The Visitor Studies Association has meant so much to me, both in a professional capacity and also as… (Read more)

On-Ramps to Where?

Posted Jun 8, 2021

An essay by: John H. Falk and Lynn D. Dierking   Introduction   For generations, educators have supported children and youth’s free-choice science learning through informal education experiences, such as visits to museums, science centers, zoos and aquariums, both school visits, as well as those with family/friends; various online programs, summer camps and scouting, and… (Read more)

The Value of Museums: Enhancing Societal Well-Being

Posted May 24, 2021

We are pleased to announce the timely arrival of a new book written by our own Dr. John Falk. “Written by one of the world’s leading authorities on the public use of museums, The Value of Museums: Enhancing Societal Well-Being provides a timely and compelling way for museum professionals to better understand and explain the benefits created… (Read more)

Portal To The Public Wins Enduring Achievement Award

Posted May 12, 2021

ARIS ANNOUNCES 2020 and 2021 BROADER IMPACTS AWARDEES Award recipients to be recognized during the annual summit. May 11, 2021 – The Center for Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS) today announced three Broader Impacts (BI) Champions who have contributed significantly to establishing and advancing the broader impacts of scientific research. 2021 BI Champions: ·… (Read more)

Principal Components Analysis – and everyone’s favorite sandwich!  

Posted May 12, 2021

Is your survey scale or instrument measuring one, and only one psychological construct? How do you know? What does it matter?  As our Data Scientist, David Meier will tell you, refining your survey scales to ensure they are measuring unique constructs is critical for the validity of your inferential statistical interpretations. You can’t truly know if someone… (Read more)

Measuring Organizational Return on Investment

Posted Apr 27, 2021

This is the third in a series of blogs I have written about the importance and feasibility of putting an actual dollar figure on the value created by cultural experiences (find previous blogs here and here). The premise of all these pieces begins with an appreciation of the fact that cultural institutions currently have a… (Read more)

UPDATE: Is it Actually Possible to put a Dollar Figure on your Organization’s Public Value?

Posted Feb 12, 2021

An update by John H. Falk, Ph.D. Executive Director, Institute for Learning Innovation   Last July I wrote a blog proposing that it might be possible to actually put a dollar figure on the value created by cultural experiences. Here’s a quick recap of that original blog and an update on where this effort currently… (Read more)

Special Announcement- Network Affiliations

Posted Feb 3, 2021

As you know, here at ILI we spend a lot of time thinking (and talking about) learning. How to broaden access and participation, what supports effective learning and who gets to be considered an expert? It’s all a part of our ongoing quest to change the narrow ways in which people think about learning. Most… (Read more)

Evaluating Differently

Posted Jan 29, 2021

For many of us working in informal science learning, we’re just coming out of our busiest season of the year. Projects wrapped up. A new administration took office. We navigated a holiday season unlike any other.  And for most, several federal and private grants were due. Among other things, 2020 brought with it a heightened… (Read more)

SciComm Trainers Network: Building a community committed to equity in science engagement

Posted Jan 21, 2021

Whether it’s watching a demonstration at a science fair, learning new ideas at a science museum, or simply talking to a scientist, the transfer of knowledge from scientists to members of their communities represents a clear example of the free-choice learning championed by the Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI). As such ILI has formed a… (Read more)


Posted Jan 19, 2021

Our Meeting Code of Conduct The Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) convenes gatherings that are welcoming, respectful, inclusive, and collaborative. ILI’s Gatherings Code of Conduct applies to all ILI-sponsored gatherings, as well as affiliated events connected with an ILI gathering, whether in public or private facilities.    Expected behavior  Treat everyone with the same respect you would expect of them.  Be… (Read more)

NOW HIRING: FIELD RESEARCH COORDINATOR (Alameda County, CA and surrounding area)

Posted Dec 10, 2020

Field Research Coordinator Description: We’re looking for someone committed to helping transform the world of learning! The Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) seeks an organized and dynamic people person to help gather information (via online surveys and conversation) from adult hobbyist gardeners and assist with data analysis and report writing. This National Science Foundation funded… (Read more)


Posted Nov 17, 2020

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NOV 17, 2020   BEAVERTON, OREGON-  The Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) is pleased to announce that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded funding to four very important research projects that are centered around free-choice learning and are designed to expand access, equity, and inclusion for learners of all… (Read more)

Special Announcement

Posted Oct 13, 2020

OCTOBER 13, 2020 – The Institute for Learning Innovation is pleased to announce the addition of two new Senior Fellows, both of whom share our appreciation for the power of lifelong, free-choice learning experiences.   Kimberly Young is the Executive Director of Continuing and Professional Studies at the University of Mary Washington where she is… (Read more)

Fall Conference Announcement

Posted Aug 26, 2020

Virtual Conference SEPTEMBER 24, 2020 3:30 – 5:00 PM ET   Hosted By: Please join your Detroit education colleagues as we gather virtually on a Thursday afternoon to discuss and learn from each other about Family STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths) learning experiences. We will kick-off this one-day, 90-minute virtual conference with a… (Read more)

Is it Actually Possible to put a Dollar Figure on Your Organization’s Public Value?

Posted Aug 4, 2020

(HINT: The answer is yes!) How do you show that your institution provides genuine public value? If you have anything to do with the administration of a museum or cultural organization, this is a question that you and your board of directors find yourselves having to answer continually these days. If you are like most… (Read more)

Now Hiring : Project Coordinator (Remote)

Posted Jul 28, 2020

Project Coordinator (Remote)  Description:  We’re looking for someone committed to helping transform the world of learning!     The Institute for Learning Innovation (ILI) seeks an organized, dynamic, self-starter to help coordinate and facilitate several on-going national and international projects, virtual meetings, and events. The applicant selected will work full-time, remotely from a location of their choosing (with the exception of occasional required travel), and will… (Read more)

A statement from The Institute for Learning Innovation

Posted Jun 3, 2020

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education, and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”   Dr. Martin Luther King, leader of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, evoked these words during his acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway when… (Read more)

When our community goes digital: reflections on a changing paradigm

Posted May 26, 2020

I travel to carry out research and evaluation studies – and I travel for conferences and workshops. There’s ScienceTalk, NARST, Advancing Research Impacts in Society (ARIS), Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST), the Science Events Summit, and Visitor Studies Association Conference (VSA).   Just to name a few of my favorites.   Particularly in… (Read more)

Social-Emotional Learning is paramount during COVID-19

Posted May 11, 2020

Mommy is everything all right–why do you look so sad? Many of you may have heard a child, grandchild, niece or nephew, or friend’s child, say something like this of late. Possibly, you also may have observed your 4-year-old being “clingy”  or your 10-year-old having nightmares more frequently than in the past. As adults, sometimes… (Read more)