Roving and Informal Interpretation

Gain the skills and confidence needed to interact with visitors informally and learn how to provide them with interpretive opportunities. This course explores three types of contacts: orientation, information, and interpretation.


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Informal interpretive contacts provide the most personalized services at a site and are key to ensuring enjoyable guest experience. By roving, or moving freely around your site, you can give visitors what they need, when they need it. If guests have good experiences with the site, they may be more likely to support it and its mission.

While visitors may receive orientation, information, and interpretation in a variety of settings, it is through informal contact that they receive individualized attention tailored to their needs. Based on guests' questions, cues, and responses, an interpreter can assess those needs and respond appropriately.

This "guest-centered" approach communicates respect and helps to build support for your site. By responding to each visitor's needs with individualized interpretation, you not only help create memorable and positive experiences: you also encourage the visitor to care more about your organization.

This course will help you successfully navigate contact with visitors and provide orientation, information, and interpretation effectively.

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Course Schedule

This course is self-paced allowing you flexibility in the time needed to complete the course. You decide the order and progression you’d like to take, allowing you to revisit and review sections in greater depth as needed.

Elements of the course:

  • Informational text
  • Interactive activities
  • Learn More opportunities
  • Engaging video
  • Supplemental reference materials
  • Informal assessment quizzes
  • Final assessment

Following the course, you will complete an assessment which requires you to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. Upon successful completion of the assessment you will be awarded an electronic certificate of completion.

Course Chapters

  • Informal Interpretation Opportunities
  • Customer Service
  • Appropriate Techniques
  • Pull It All Together

Be able to:

  • Identify critical elements of effective customer service.
  • Identify visitor needs based on visitor cues.
  • Select the appropriate type of service based on guest needs.
  • Select appropriate interpretive techniques in order to provide opportunities for guests to connect to resource meanings.
  • Describe strategies interpreters can use to assess their own visitor contacts.
  • Explain when and how to conclude an informal interpretation experience appropriately.
  • Identify strategies for handling legitimate complaints from guests.

Recommended Background

It is recommended that students taking this course have experience in interpretation. There are no required prerequisites, but it is recommended that students complete the free Foundations of Interpretation course prior to taking this one.


Aside from an internet connection, what resources will I need for the course?

No additional resources are required for this course.

Will I get a certificate after completing the course?

Yes! All courses include a final assessment to evaluate your understanding of key course concepts. A certificate of completion will be offered to you if you complete the assessment with a score of 80% or higher.

Why should I take this course?

Each Eppley e-course is designed collaboratively among experienced instructional designers, subject matter experts, and our partner organizations and institutions. The course curriculum includes current information and best practices in the field, and it is recognized by national leaders in parks, recreation, and land management. Not only will this course benefit your career by expanding your knowledge base, but it will also enhance your application and problem-solving skills. For more frequently asked questions, please visit our Help Center.

For more frequently asked questions, please visit our Help Center.


GoodReview by Matthew
Good Job (Posted on 5/21/2020)
Good IntroductionReview by David
An introduction to customer relations (Posted on 5/5/2020)
Good trainingReview by Lu
This training provided and excellent overview of Roving and Informal Interpretation. (Posted on 4/28/2020)
A basic overview of professional behaviors for informal interpretation.Review by Ann
The information in this course is geared toward interpreters with less experience working with diverse visitors (guests), and perhaps younger people who are just learning professional appearance and behaviors. The section on body language is a good reminder that we communicate in ways of which we may not be aware, and is in turn a good way to interpret the needs of our visitors while keeping in mind the needs of our resource. I am a former teacher, so most of the content was intuitive for me. (Posted on 1/27/2019)
Excellent InformationReview by Herminia
For any Roving Interpreter you will learn, enjoy and practice all what it cleary explained. (Posted on 7/27/2018)
Excellent informationReview by Sharon
Course shows that effective informal interpretation doesn't mean "winging it", but being observant and prepared. Thank you (Posted on 3/10/2018)

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