Program Development: A NISE Network Guide to Creating Effective Learning Experiences for Public Audiences

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This guide offers a comprehensive overview of NISE Network programming, including development by a multi-organization team, implementation by hundreds of partners nationwide, and impact on public audiences. It offers a practical introduction to the approaches, methods, and tools the Network uses to ensure our programs provide effective learning opportunities. Planning NISE Net program development is part of a large, complex public engagement effort that includes multiple workgroups creating products for use by hundreds of partners. This guide shares some of the tools, ideas, and processes we have found useful, and which are transferable to different kinds of program development projects. Development The Network has adopted and established best practices in program development, including peer review, expert review, visitor testing, universal design, and inclusive approaches to multiple and diverse audiences. These practices are described in general terms and illustrated through specific case studies. Implementation NISE Net programs and professional resources are developed as open-source resources, and from the beginning are planned to work for a broad range of audiences and educational settings. The guide includes a number of "partner stories" to share the important and creative ways our partners have used and adapted our programs and resources. Impact The impact of the Network’s programming efforts is documented through ongoing research and evaluation efforts. Here, we share some highlights of that work. Tools and resources The guide contains a variety of tools the NISE Net program development team has used through the years. We also provide a comprehensive list of the programming and professional resources the Network offers.


Year created

Developed for the NISE Network with funding from the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 0532536 and 0940143. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

Owning institution

Science Museum of Minnesota


Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).
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Development Process
NISE Network products are developed through an iterative collaborative process that includes scientific review, peer review, and visitor evaluation in accordance with an inclusive audiences approach. Products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. To learn more, visit our Development Process page.