New museum online learning content strategy - your thoughts please
1. This thinking isn't related to the work I do in my paid work, more just me rolling ideas around in my head about museum online learning generally
2. This isn't particularly the start of a strategy document, more just some ideas about a modus operandi/working principles (maybe strategy with a small 's'?) for museum online learning.
I was part of the workshop to critically evaluate the National Musuems Online Learning Project webquests yesterday and as ever, when I step away from my desk, the curtain opened in my brain and I was able to think more broadly then I ever can normally about my job and how I go about it.
Some thoughts developed which I want to expand upon about what a museum online learning strategy should be about and this germ of an idea is brewing in my head that I'd like to hear people's thoughts and comments on. It's very much a germ of an idea at the moment and I'm sure it has lots of disadvantages so I'd really appreciate your feedback.
What would you think of a museum online learning strategy that set out the following:
1. Online learning resources for schools and colleges that sit on the Museum's website should be in the following forms:
A) A bank of object images with contextual information about them that teachers/tutors/students can download and use for educational use
B) A set of short introductions to the topics that the museum is an authority on
C) A set of short films with schools/colleges as the target audience where a curator talks about particular objects and what you can learn from them
D) A set of relatively light-touch/low-tech pre-visit (and possibly post-visit) resources that support the school/college sessions run by the Museum. These might be in PPT or SMART notebook or something and would simply serve to introduce key concepts and objects that relate to the session.
In other words the stuff on a museum websites is relatively unprescriptive and is about opening up our 'stuff' and making it available to educators to do what they want with it.
2) All material where the primary aim is to provide a learning experience online that is independent to a face-to-face museum session (and I think this particularly applies to informal learning material online, and to more prescriptive and structured formal learning which does a lot of the teaching for the teacher) e.g. an online game, or an interactive story should do the following :
A) If it is for schools/colleges, pick on particular topic or area of a topic and create a resource to support that area of the curriculum
B) Be developed in partnership with other organisations who have authority on that subject
C) Be developed in partnership with commercial and other big organisations who are already providing this kind of content or where the target audience are already spending time. The idea would be for an equal partnership where funds and resources were put in from both parties
D) Emphasis is put on the findability of the resource from the start
E) Significant budget/resources are set aside for marketing the resource
F) Potentially sit on an independent URL or a place where the target audience are already spending time rather than on the museum's website (Update: 25 July - this is an addition that I meant to put in and realised I'd omitted)
These ideas are based on the following assumptions/observations/thoughts:
- There's no point in museums trying to compete for people's attention and leisure time with online activities which are much better funded than museums are ever likely to be.
- People will only come to museum websites either if they know that there is material there or if they find it by accident in Google.
- We have limited resources both in terms of budget and staff time and it's vital that we channel our energies wisely.