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Free-choice learning is all about deciding what, where, and how we want to learn over the course of our lifetimes. It's the learning that takes place all the time, outside of the classroom, no matter how young or old you are.
Since 2004, Oregon Sea Grant's Free-choice Learning program has been working to understand and support the marine science learning that happens when people choose to visit science museums, zoos and aquariums in their leisure time, making specific and conscious choices about what they learn. Our program is recognized by those in the field for its innovation and success.
Our living laboratory for free-choice learning is OSU's HMSC Visitor Center in Newport, operated by Oregon Sea Grant. There, a team of scholars, scientists, graduate students and trained volunteers conduct education, research, and professional-development programs - and also create and evaluate interactive exhibits that interpret marine science and the ocean for visitors of all ages.
At OSU, graduate academic offerings in free-choice learning are available in three departments -- Science and Math Education (SMED), Marine Resource Management (MRM), and Environmental Sciences.