Thursday, February 23, 2006

BBC Jam - a messy business

Now had time to go through the ‘Business studies’ stuff for 11-12 year olds – it gets weirder. Take one of its ‘star’ businesses, wait for it…. Eidos! Sorry about picking on Eidos. I’d love to tell you about the other businesses, but hardly anything loaded and worked.

What the BBC case study doesn’t tell you is that Eidos was days away from bankruptcy last year as their bank wanted to pull the plug after massive losses, missed deadlines and bug–ridden releases. In the end, after a collapse in the share price, it was picked up by SCi, a much smaller player. The company profile makes no mention of this. In fact Eidos, as a company, doesn’t really exist, it is really only a brand and consumer marketing vehicle. SCi is the listed company. Click on the TV in the BBC simulation and you’re taken to the SCi website – that should confuse the learners! As an assignment you are asked to do a SWOT analysis of Eidos – that WOULD be interesting, if you had the real and current data to view! The only interesting bit was the ability to explore the Eidos offices, but again, it was a lot of effort for very little reward. You wonder why all of the Eidos senior staff were posing about for BBC film and photo-shoots at the very time the company was sinking - they should have been trying to get their lamentably late games out.

In general, the whole thing is a scrapyard mess. The repeated animations are just annoying – the same images over and over again – it makes you scream with rage. E-learning is about the user being in control. This is what you get when TV people create interactive content – thinly disguised broadcast material. Interactivity is the name of the game. Here you spend more time hanging about waiting, often on just simple pieces of repeated animation, than learning. Most of the time it’s like an animated PowerPoint in extreme and painful slow-motion. Try the Library – you may lose the will to live waiting on results.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an interesting contrast to your comments on Gareth Jones' case study of the BBC and the influence of the "creative media company" on their internal learning at the Learning Technologies 2006 conference. Perhaps they would benefit from putting into practice for their customers what they try for their employees. Alternatively, it may be that the product you are writing about was created by a third party and simply branded BBC - in which case they need to look out for their brand!

11:11 AM  
Blogger Donald Clark said...

Two good points. This stuff is far less useful than Bitesize and the internal learning people really do have a feel for 'real' internet i.e. Web 2.0 stuff like blogs, wiki, podcasts,open source etc.

You're absolutely right, these are broadcast people and 'friends of friends' who have no real track record in the field and clearly no expertise. It's all old hat animation.

The serious production companies and publishers should be going crazy over this. They did try to stop it but now they have the ammunition to say 'we were right'.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

budget, budget budget....the logistics of actually creating and mantaining interactive tv content is a heavy load on manpower time and planning and actually executing, with budgets being forever cut and stretched one wonders why they bother until the interactive content can be intellegently and efficiently integrated

5:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having just read your review of the content, I think the following points also need be considered. Any e-learning content comprising a large amount of video is going to take time to load. The minimum spec for running content successfully is clearly outlined on the site, I do not believe this is a problem as a large amount of use will happen in schools, running fast braodband. Additionally, you fail to mention the accessability and localisation functionality, which are ground breaking in terms of Flash and in a project of this size.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The serious production companies and publishers should be going crazy over this."

Most of the content is made by outsourced companies, who are, for want of a better term, making a killing from the project.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Donald Clark said...

You missed my word 'serious'. Most of the chosen companies have no real track record in e-learning - mostly 'friends of BBC' with ex-BBC staff.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Harold S Skinner said...

Not only has the BBC suspended ‘BBC Jam’ but from the end of March the educational TV programmes that BBC Jam was intended to replace will cease to be made and the staff who made them will be made redundant. It also means that, by suspending BBC Jam and stopping school TV production at the same time, the BBC now makes no new formal education material at all for children and schools, something that for 50 years has been an essential part of its public service remit. Time to make a fuss, write to MPs, etc.

9:26 PM  

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