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Tinkering Our Work: Learning and Facilitation Framework

Tinkering Our Work: Learning and Facilitation Framework

Tinkering Library of Exemplars

This library categorizes over one hundred video clips according to our Learning and Facilitation frameworks. We studied 50 learners at the Exploratorium divided across three tinkering activities: Wind Tubes, Marble Machines, and Circuit Boards. We used the videos to identify indicators of learning that can be seen during these activities. Along with these Dimensions of Learning, we paid attention to the role of facilitation and identified examples of three “Moves” that promote learning. We have found this tool useful to reflect on our own practice, refine our facilitation techniques, and think more deeply about “learning through tinkering.” We’re also using the database to share with others what we think learning and facilitation look like in action. We hope that you will let us know how you make use of it. You can contact us at:

Agreement letter

Our Institutional Review Board has asked that the videos be shown in non-public spaces, which we call “educational settings.” Such settings have an educational purpose and require invitation or registration. An example would be a meeting at a museum, school, or afterschool program. The videos cannot be downloaded, but are available for streaming and are password protected. To obtain the password, please download, sign, scan and email the Agreement Letter to We will email you back the password.

Excel database: If you are interested in the library, you can access it using Excel. To obtain a password for viewing the videos, please see the “Agreement Letter” section above.

Learning Dimensions Framework + Facilitation Moves Framework

The Learning Dimensions framework contains four categories of learning that we value in Tinkering activities:

  • Engagement
  • Initiative and Intentionality
  • Social Scaffolding
  • Development of Understanding

The framework also offers indicators and descriptions for each Dimension. An indicator is an aspect of a given Learning Dimension that might be visible in the videos, and the description of each indicator offers more information about the kinds of learning interactions found within that indicator. The Facilitation Moves section describes three different aspects of facilitation in tinkering:

  • Spark
  • Sustain
  • Deepen

Each move is accompanied by a description of the facilitator’s interactions that typically support each move. NOTE: Please note that these two frameworks should be viewed as tools for discussion, rather than rigorous schemes for coding behavior.