One of this week’s conversations was with Nesta, about Webmaker usage within the UK and whether or not we have data to support the theory that face-t0-face events have an impact getting people involved in making on the web. These are two topics that interest me greatly.
I’m basically copying some of my notes into blog form so that the conversation isn’t confined to a few in-boxes.
And the TL;DR is our data represents what we’ve done, rather than any universal truth.
Our current data would support the hypothesis that face-to-face time is important for learning, but that would simply be because that’s how our program has been designed to date. In other words, our Webmaker tools were designed primarily for use in face-to-face events, which meant that adoption by ‘self-learners’ online is low because their is little guidance or motivation to play with our tools on your own. This year we’re making a stronger push on developing tools that can be used remotely, alongside our work on volunteer led face-to-face events. This will lead to a less biased overall data set in the future where we can begin to properly explore the impact on making and learning for people who do or don’t attend face-to-face events at various stages in their learning experience. In particular I’m keen to understand what factors help people transition from learners, to mentoring and supporting their peers.
I also took a quick look at the aggregate Google Analytics location data for the UK audience which I hadn’t done before and which re-enforces the point above.
Above: Traffic to Webmaker (loosely indicating an interest in the topic) is roughly distributed like a population map of the UK. This is what I expect to see of most location data.
Above: However, if you look at the locations of visitors who make something, there are lots of clusters around the UK and London is equaled by many other cities.
To-date, usage of the Webmaker tools has been driven by those who are using the tools to teach the web (i.e. Webmaker Mentors). But we also know there are large numbers of people who find Webmaker outside of the face-to-face event scenarios who need a better route into Webmaker’s offering.
The good news is that this year’s plans look after both sets of potential learners.