Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities By Design

citsci nas report cover

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,  “Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities by Design” in now available in print.

In the last twenty years, citizen science has blossomed as a way to engage a broad range of individuals in doing science. Citizen science projects focus on, but are not limited to, nonscientists participating in the processes of scientific research, with the intended goal of advancing and using scientific knowledge. A rich range of projects extend this focus in myriad directions, and the boundaries of citizen science as a field are not clearly delineated. Citizen science involves a growing community of professional practitioners, participants, and stakeholders, and a thriving collection of projects. While citizen science is often recognized for its potential to engage the public in science, it is also uniquely positioned to support and extend participants’ learning in science.

Contemporary understandings of science learning continue to advance. Indeed, modern theories of learning recognize that science learning is complex and multifaceted. Learning is affected by factors that are individual, social, cultural, and institutional, and learning occurs in virtually any context and at every age. Current understandings of science learning also suggest that science learning extends well beyond content knowledge in a domain to include understanding of the nature and methods of science.

Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities by Design discusses the potential of citizen science to support science learning and identifies promising practices and programs that exemplify the promising practices. This report also lays out a research agenda that can fill gaps in the current understanding of how citizen science can support science learning and enhance science education.

Find highlights from the report here .

Among the authors is Darlene Cavalier, Founder of SciStarter, and Professor of Practice at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University.

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About the Author

Caroline Nickerson

Caroline Nickerson

Caroline Nickerson is a Senior Program Director at SciStarter where she manages the Citizen Science Month Program, SciStarter’s Corporate Volunteer Programs and other programmatic and outreach efforts, including working with SciStarter’s Syndicated Blog Network, which encompasses the Science Connected, Discover Magazine and SciStarter platforms. She spends her day helping educators, library staff, community leaders and volunteers from all walks of life do real science. Caroline is a Master of Public Policy graduate from American University, where she was a Reilly Environmental Policy Scholar, and is a current PhD student at the University of Florida. She also works with the UF-VA Bioethics Unit, the Christensen Project, Florida Community Innovation and the Commission on Local Debates. She was the 2019 Cherry Blossom Princess representing the state of Florida and the grand prize scholarship winner at Miss Earth USA 2021 as Miss Louisiana Earth.