The BBC is well established as the UK’s strongest web presence and so last month’s announcement that BBC Jam, the online learning service for 5-16 year-olds, was to be suspended will have been a great relief to any company looking to compete in that market.
As a B2B hosting provider, UKFast has a number of clients working in e-learning and so the conversation has come up a number of times.
A public service broadcaster like the BBC, with £150m in budget for such a project would almost certainly preclude smaller businesses from being able to enter the sphere. There is a definite likelihood here of stifling the entrepreneurial spirit of an industry that is, in any case, not noted for it’s courage in striking out independently.
There is also a second consideration, which is easier to appreciate once you spend time talking to tutors and teaching professionals. When you have spent years of your life delivering tutelage you don’t just understand the curricula, you understand how best to deliver it. Surely it is better for the consumer, in this case school children, to have a wealth of choice of online courses that may ‘click’ with their way of learning rather than just one huge resource provided by the BBC.
It will be interesting to see whether BBC Jam will return following review. I’d also like to know other people’s opinions on this. It might be that many parents would prefer the BBC as it brings with it an established stamp of approval?