Learning in citizen science

Laure Kloetzer*, Julia Lorke, Joseph Roche, Yaela Golumbic, Silvia Winter, Aiki Jõgeva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Citizen science is a promising field for educational practices and research. However, it is also highly heterogeneous, and learning happens in diverse ways, according to project tasks and participants' activities. Therefore, we adopt a sociocultural view of learning, in which understanding learning requires a close analysis of the situation created both by the project tasks and the dynamics of engagement of the participants (volunteers, scientists, and others). To tackle the complexity of the field, this chapter maps learning in citizen science into six territories, according to where learning might take place: formal education (schools and universities); out-of-school education (science and nature clubs, summer camps, outdoor education, etc.); local and global communities (neighbourhood associations, activist associations, online communities, etc.); families; museums (science museums, art museums, zoos, and botanic gardens); and online citizen science. For each territory, we present key findings from the literature. The chapter also introduces our six personal journeys into the field of learning and citizen science, displaying their variety and the common lessons, challenges, and opportunities. Finally, we present four key tensions arising from citizen science projects in educational settings and look at training different stakeholders as a strategy to overcome some of these tensions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Science of Citizen Science
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9783030582784
ISBN (Print)9783030582777
StatePublished - 11 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Barriers to learning
  • Learning dynamics
  • Learning outcomes


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