Commissioner Conversation: Learning – Report

Posted on: Friday 04 July 2014 6:21pm by Lucy Beckett

As 2014’s CMC begins to draw to a close, there are still some great sessions on offer, including an opportunity to meet some great content commissioners from the learning sector.


  • Gamification is becoming an increasing force in the production of learning based content
  • The demand for digital content within this sector is racing ahead of the classroom’s ability to access or use it
  • Working with children continues to reveal the merit of learning content, and the new ways in which they can interact with it

Session Details

Commissioner LearningAs the lights dim and the introductions start, it’s clear that this session has found a really good balance of speakers. We start with Abigail Appleton – Head of Commissioning at BBC Learning –  a leading force in educational content production. Then we have David Bainbridge, Founder of knowledgemotion – a groundbreaking company that specialises in tagging existing content to the curriculum, and finally Kaplan International’s Romana Thibaut-Ayeni,  who specialises in providing educational content to non-English speaking students in foreign markets.

It was a really interesting selection, and as presenter Nico Franks fired away with questions, you could see the answers span the width of production and distribution…

“What’s the balance between entertainment and education?”

The answer  suggested the question may be outdated! The speakers agreed that, while entertainment remains the key to producing and delivering learning content, gamification is becoming as increasingly relevant. Appleton referenced that some of BBC Learning’s latest projects are interactive, utilising the standard language and usability traditions that have been established in games production.

“Taking advantage of the increase in tech in the classroom”

The speakers touched on the barriers that they are currently facing with the learning industry’s movement toward connected mobile devices, and that the demand for digital content often jumps ahead of the classroom’s ability to access or use it. Thibaut-Ayeni also pointed out that foreign market learning material really needs to be accessed via offline platforms like CD Rom, as internet connections aren’t always reliable enough.

“How closely do you work with children?”

Thibaut-Ayeni and Bainbridge described the user testing and piloting schemes they deploy to ensure that their content will be relevant to their audiences, but as Bainbridge explained, “we are not selling to the children, we are selling to the teachers” and that must also be at the forefront of their products.

Appleton reiterated that it remains very important to work with children, especially as technology and digital content continues to develop so quickly. By working with children, “you understand that the kids are all individuals”, and something like personalisation is an “interesting opportunity to think about how content can be responsive to their interests…”

For full details of the speakers, check the Session Guide

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Lucy Beckett

About the author

Lucy Beckett

CBeebies, Content Producer

Lucy Beckett is a Content Producer at CBeebies. She has 10 years’ experience creating digital content for children, and produced Tiscali TV’s ground breaking VOD channel ‘Scamp’. Having worked on digital content for Cartoon Network, Disney, Chorion, Bookstart and Lego, Lucy now creates website and app content for BBC Childrens,… Read more