Developing digital learning resources had been a priority for the Centre since it started work in 2016. A series of online taster courses and 1,500 video, audio and interactive resources were already available on our website, learnwelsh.cymru.
As face-to-face teaching was paused in March, we transferred our community-based classes to virtual classrooms, using platforms such as Zoom, Teams and Skype. Our tutors embraced this style of teaching and we held weekly drop-in sessions to support them as they adapted.
We also fast-tracked new blended learning courses already in development, which mix tutor-led (virtual) classroom teaching with independent online study. We adopted the flip classroom method whereby learners do their independent learning before the contact time with a tutor and other learners.
These courses proved particularly popular – around 1,000 adults joined 89 new classes, which started in May.
We mainly used Facebook to recruit for these courses.
We were already active on the platform and on 30 March, we started daily live lessons on our page, led by our Director of Teaching and Learning, Helen Prosser, and a member of her team, Eirian Conlon. What started as a digital learning strand turned into an effective marketing tool. Thousands tuned in to these lessons, and we gained significant numbers of new followers.
We were able to advertise the blended courses to the people who’d tuned in to these lessons and also targeted more widely using Facebook.
With street marketing, outdoor platforms and local advertising limited at this time, we’ve again been using digital means, including email and social media, to recruit for our new virtual Welsh classes starting in September. We’re currently offering a 50% discount on all Entry level courses for beginners – help us spread the word!
Guest Blog: Hannah Thomas
Director of Marketing and Communications, National Centre for Learning Welsh