First Click

The 100th learner at Lossiemouth
Vicky Jamieson is 90 years old and a former librarian. She has just completed Equalskills.

The BBC developed a digital participation campaign called First Click aimed at over 55s who had not been online and it was launched in October 2010. Over the period of the campaign the help line received nearly 66,000 calls and 38,856 referrals were made. Over the period of the campaign 44,561 beginner’s packs were given to First Click learners. In terms of perspective, government information indicates that 9.5m people are not yet online, so about 0.6% responded to this campaign positively, whilst many more were influenced.

BBC First Click
The detailed breakdown is not available from the Scottish data so this is drawn from the UK data. The vast majority were in the over 50, with over 30,000 over 60 and nearly 5000 were 80+. The mean age was 71. The majority were retired or not in paid employment and they contacted the help line for course information. The vast majority were white and not in learning and recorded no disability. Of those signing up for assistance 46% went to libraries, by far the biggest provider, and libraries attracted an even higher percentage from those who had no prior experience. In Scotland learners could expect the second smallest tutor to learner ratio at 1:6. The most effective communication remains word of mouth with 47% reporting this was how they heard about the campaign and only 27% through television and 5% through radio advertising.

The First Click campaign was overwhelmingly considered to be the most relevant of the BBC campaigns by over 80% of the services. The supporting materials and information packs were considered to be very good, very informative and well developed. Feedback from a couple of the local authorities indicates it First Click wasn’t a brand which was requested specifically and the success of word of mouth advertising rather than television/radio promotion; both of which cast doubt over the impact of the BBC partnership. However the statistical evidence is that the higher profile did bring people to libraries for ICT classes as there was a 19% increase in demand for classes in libraries last autumn. The 6 authorities who have responded to date indicate that over 1000 people have attended First Click courses.

There isn’t sufficient data as yet to analyse demand for classes and any regional variation, however anecdotally there are examples of additional classes being put on in Kirkcudbright, whilst Wigtown attracted only 3 learners. In Linlithgow people were put on a waiting list until suitable arrangements could be made. The Scottish response was lower than the national average, at 4.88%, although this only means fewer Scots phoned the help line.

South Lanarkshire Active IT
In a recent survey carried out by SLIC for the BBC, 87% of Scottish public libraries said digital participation and inclusion were identified as strategic priorities for their services in the next year. 91% said they felt that the BBC learning campaigns with libraries helped to increase learning and literacy and 78% specifically mentioned that, in their view, the campaigns helped to drive digital take-up. SLIC is working with Scottish Government to develop appropriate support for digital participation both through the Public Library Quality Improvement Fund, of which £305,000 will be dedicated to increasing digital participation through libraries in 2011/12.

Some services intend to continue to run First Click until materials run out and are finding that many of the participants go on to sign up for more courses at the library, it was felt that they built confidence after taking part in First Click and found an appetite for more learning.

The feedback was dominated by disappointment at the changes to both ILA Funding and the new “My World of Work” website from Skills Development Scotland. This seems the Digital Strategy and initiatives like the Race Online 2012 and SDS on the other are contradictory. The withdrawal of ILA funding for beginners courses will have an impact on our ability to achieve digital participation targets.

Rhona Arthur, Assistant Director


2 Responses

  1. typo above? when did First Click launch? Not Oct 2011

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