Logo from a video made by the National Football Museum

Creating engaging digital learning content with a legacy beyond the lockdown

Rebecca Atkinson, 02.06.2020
The National Football Museum has focused on three clear strands of content
Like many museums, the National Football Museum in Manchester offered limited online learning before spring 2020.

“We’re a small team and the priority has always been physical visitors to the museum – the Covid-19 pandemic has allowed us to look at how we can help schools, families and learners at home and how we can highlight the museum’s collection to an online audience,” says Christian Allen, the museum’s community and public programme manager.

The new learning resources produced during the pandemic have fallen into three strands: football and creative writing; crafting activities; and football history video content.

“Our creative writing series ‘Kicking off your Creativity’ was an opportunity for the museum to continue working with popular Ultimate Football Heroes author Matt Oldfield, who we regularly collaborate with on school/family learning events,” Allen says.

“We saw this as an opportunity to build on our literacy offer and develop video resources that we can continue to share with schools beyond this period. The series uses famous football moments as story-starters to encourage home learners to re-write football history.”

The museum is also posting a new football-themed craft activity every Tuesday. Allen says this followed feedback from other museums and partners who had found these informal learning activities were proving the most popular with online audiences.

Each activity is linked back to objects in the museum’s collection.

The third strand – football history videos – takes the form of “listicles” called First 11, which highlight objects in the museum’s collection.

“This is predominantly for our KS4/KS5 schools audience,” says Allen, as a large number of its secondary school visits coming from GCSE PE, A-Level PE and BTEC Sport groups.

“The listicle content also serves as quick, engaging video content for our general online audience,” he adds.

The content is promoted through existing social media platforms, as well as through school newsletters and a press release. Teachers are also providing crucial feedback, alongside quantitative data from downloads.

Allen recommends that museums that want to produce digital learning resources make sure anything they produce has a legacy beyond the current lockdown.  

“How is what you’re producing now going to help your family, schools, adult-learning or age-friendly offer beyond the pandemic?” he says. “We’ve not referred to the pandemic specifically in any content we’ve produced because we want schools and learners to continue using it beyond this period as we continue to grow our digital audience.”