During the lockdown in Spring 2020, Culture Perth and Kinross surveyed teachers and service users to evaluate how heritage learning was taking place across schools and at home.
We found that many teachers and educators were looking for more specialised and focused resources to support topics that they were teaching online.
Our existing website did not see much traffic from these groups and many of the resources were buried behind numerous clicks preventing people from easily accessing these.
In terms of accessing content our survey showed that schools were seeking resources such as; online activities that could be accessed at any time, downloadable resources (worksheets) that don’t require internet access, and instructions for practical tasks such as recipes and crafts.
As an organisation that works across museums, libraries, archives and with creative practitioners in the region, we have a wealth of resources and services that people could access, but perhaps are not aware of. Understanding this through the survey led to the development of CPKPlay.
"The pandemic provided an opportunity to accelerate the development of new digital content and to widen access to the collections and resources we manage on behalf of the people of Perth and Kinross."Jordan Irvine, Senior Officer Communities and Learning, Culture Perth and Kinross
Challenges and successes
- Our first challenge was defining how we wanted to present our resources and services to people in an engaging and methodical manner. We spent time reflecting on the resources and themes that we wanted to cover across the organisation. We then looked at this in relation to the survey we had conducted.
- We drew inspiration from other family and learning focused websites, such as Tate Kids, which had clear headings to direct users and engaging bright visuals. From here we laid out our headings and page set up, working with local company Volpa who designed the website for us.
- We did have to scale back some of our ideas to fit in with the capabilities of the webpages, but this didn’t hinder our enthusiasm for creating the website!
- Once we had our draft website in place, we began populating this with our content and resources, prioritising topics and areas which had been identified in our survey. Through this we were able to find a range of engaging material, which previously had been seldom used due to the limitations with our main website.
The impact it has made
- The website has had a significant impact on how we now present learning across the organisation; it has allowed us to create a learning brand (CPKPlay) and draft templates for our resources that individualise these further, helping to standardise the content we create.
- Staff have used this as an opportunity to promote activities across the service, tying in closer to exhibitions and other events.
- It also helped us consolidate resources across the organisation and support staff to see what other material they can work on to support requests from learners and wider activities.
By undertaking the survey and creating CPKPlay we learned the following:
- Schools and families are looking for easily accessible resources which are interactive and engaging.
- Work with web professionals when creating your own site if budget allows. Many stumbling blocks can be easily overcome if you have someone knowledgeable of the process.
- Cultural organisations need to work harder to promote their resources and link in with hard-to-reach groups
- Surveying schools and community groups is key to providing resources and services that will directly relate and be used by them. Without the school survey, we would have likely missed this.
- Spend time with staff and volunteers reviewing your current provision, how often it is used, what people ask for, and what content you have available before surveying any external groups.
- Creating a website is more work than you might initially think, and you need to be aware of the time it will take to upload content and the methods for doing so. Time is needed to constantly refresh content too, so there is an ongoing time commitment.
- Too many people involved in uploading or changing content can be detrimental to the process, so look to streamline and allocate tasks.
- Create a marketing plan before you launch. Who will see your website? How will it be promoted? Who are your target audiences?
- Don’t forget to share with staff!
If you would like more information about this project please contact:
David McLeod, Marketing Officer, Culture Perth and Kinross, email: DMcLeod@culturepk.org.uk