Foundations of Interpretation

All over the world docents, park guides, and naturalists at museums, parks, zoos, and cultural and historical sites strive to provide meaningful experiences for visitors. Interpretation is the essential tool they use.
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Around the world, guides, docents, and naturalists at parks, museums, zoos, and cultural and historical sites strive to provide meaningful experiences for visitors. Interpretation is the essential tool they use. Upon successful completion of this course, you’ll receive a certificate issued by the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, Indiana University.

The Foundations of Interpretation provides the learner with the fundamental theories and practices of effective interpretation and is ideal for those new to the field or simply interested in a refresher on interpretation concepts.

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Course Schedule

This course is self-paced, allowing learners the flexibility to complete the course as quickly or slowly as they need. While exploring course content, learners can investigate topics in greater detail through enrichment activities that link to real-world examples, original source materials, and policy documents. Learners can easily move from section to section as they navigate through the course, revisiting concepts as needed.

Elements of the course

  • Informational text
  • Interactive practice activities
  • Videos
  • Informal assessment quizzes
  • Reference materials
  • Final assessment

After completing all course activities, you will complete a brief assessment to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. Upon successful completion of the assessment, you will be awarded a certificate of completion.

Course Chapters

  • What is interpretation?
  • Why do we do interpretation?
  • What skills do interpreters need?
  • How do you do interpretation?

Be able to:

  • Describe the history and philosophy of interpretation
  • Recognize the importance of providing interpretive services
  • Identify the skills needed to be an interpreter
  • Describe the interpretive process

Recommended Background

There are no prerequisites for this course; all are welcome.

Reviews

ExcellentReview by Douglas
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Learned a lot (Posted on 12/3/2018)
very interesingReview by Skip
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I liked the content and how it was presented. Kept my interest. (Posted on 11/29/2018)
Excellent.Review by Mark
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Useful techniques to try out and helpful hints. (Posted on 11/20/2018)
Great informationReview by kevin
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So far what I've read has been very helpful for my interpretation programs (Posted on 11/14/2018)
Great Intro CourseReview by Hunter
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This course expertly lays down the significance of interpretation as well as the methods for doing so. Excellent course! (Posted on 10/9/2018)
Great!Review by Alexis
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This course was a very useful course. (Posted on 9/25/2018)
VERYGOODReview by Paul
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EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIVE. IT WILL BE HELPFUL TO ME AS A VISITOR CENTER VOLUNTEER. (Posted on 9/12/2018)
VERY GOODReview by Paul
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INSTRUCTIONAL AND INFORMATIVE. IT WILL BE VERY HELPFUL TO ME AS A VISITOR CENTER VOLUNTEER' (Posted on 9/12/2018)
VERY GOODReview by Paul
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INFORMATIVE AND INSTRUCTIONAL. IT WILL HELP ME AS A VISITER VOLUNTEER. (Posted on 9/12/2018)
Great stories and InformationReview by Malik
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This will be great for tons of people (Posted on 8/29/2018)
Useful resource for confirmation Review by Wiwien
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I have been learning and teaching interpretation autodidactically by reading references on interpretation obtained from the NAI. However, I need a way to somehow check my understanding on the subject and taking this course helped me deal with the issue.
The need in the field also requires me to carry out planning process and coaching program for some places to develop their interpetation program. I am, therefore, thinking about taking another on-line course on Coaching in Interpretation
(Posted on 8/16/2018)
FoundationalReview by Lane
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This course is brief and helps convey the principles that make interpretation what it is. Helpful for beginners s and those wanting to review those old skills. (Posted on 8/7/2018)
This was a great learning experienceReview by LEANORA
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This is a great course that added to my knowledge base in a subject area that I have been interested in for a very long time. I was very excited to learn about the different techniques that can be used when assisting visitors to sites.
Learning about the why was very important to and makes the idea of living history and making history come alive is very special. I can use the many techniques when I am working with students. (Posted on 7/30/2018)
ExcellentReview by Cheryl Ann
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Well presented materials that were easy to navigate through. provided plenty of references for future learning. (Posted on 7/30/2018)
Very InterestingReview by Herminia
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Gives you a broader knowledge of the course itself. Following all what you have learned will build a better Foundations on your Interpretation. Recommendable. (Posted on 7/28/2018)
It is an added knowledgeIt giveReview by Herminia
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It explained well the Foundations of Interpretation. (Posted on 7/27/2018)
Good IntroReview by Casey
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This course provided a great introduction to interpretation. I will definitely be continuing on to the Fundamentals of Interpretation Certificate course. (Posted on 7/20/2018)
Overall very goodReview by Greg
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Interesting and applicable. Can work on it at my leisure when time allows (Posted on 6/12/2018)
Lots of Good InformationReview by Cheryl
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Tons of information to help me get started on my presentation..... (Posted on 5/30/2018)
This is an interesting and engaging topic.Review by Denise
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This course presented me with many ideas that will help me as an interpreter. I think I will start by implementing the A - knowing my audience. Thank you for this course. (Posted on 5/29/2018)
Very InformativeReview by Emily
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This interpretation class was very beneficial to beginning my interpretation guide goals. (Posted on 2/27/2018)
very educationalReview by Iliana
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I learned a lot and it was presented in a way that was easy to remember. (Posted on 1/23/2018)
alot of information Review by Maryanne
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The course was average. There should have been more examples. (Posted on 12/27/2017)
The course was review but it was worth it.Review by Kelly
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Good Job. (Posted on 12/20/2017)
Nicely organized and presented course, rich with examples.Review by Ken
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This course provides a broad context for the art of interpretation. It stresses the importance of connecting the resource in question to the audience, with both being of equal importance in providing a meaningful experience to visitors. Many examples and illustrations are included which really do help communicate the messages more clearly. (Posted on 11/3/2017)
5 StarsReview by Haden
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It really gives you a good start background and foundation to interpretation. It was a quick course to take. I really enjoyed the knowledge that the course had to offer and I will continue to build off this course. Thank You! (Posted on 9/11/2017)
well structuredReview by Liz
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I learned a lot. (Posted on 8/18/2017)

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