A woman writing notes on a pad with a laptop open in front of her.
E-learning can form a useful part of blended learning. © Historic England
E-learning can form a useful part of blended learning. © Historic England

Support for Heritage Training Providers

This page includes information about how heritage organizations can develop new models for the delivery of blended and online skills-based training. Historic England is also working on research to assess the capacity of the sector to deliver e-learning.

ELearning and Heritage: Challenges and Opportunities

In December 2020, Historic England commissioned Pye Tait Consulting and Virtual College to research the use, opportunities and barriers associated with eLearning for skills-based training in the heritage sector. On this page you can find a summary of our findings and download the full report that includes six case studies of good e-learning practices being used to deliver heritage training.

Why did we conduct this research?

The heritage sector has a strong track record of using digital technologies to promote audience engagement and facilitate meaningful visitor experiences. For the past few decades, regular use has been made of technologies such as digital audio guides, computer-based visitor information systems, visitor-focused multi-media terminals and the creation of virtual exhibitions and spaces online in order to promote enjoyable heritage experiences for visitors.

That said, the use of eLearning for skills-based heritage training does not appear to have developed at the same pace.

The specific objectives of the research were to:

  • Identify good eLearning practice beyond the heritage sector and suggest how this can be applied to a heritage skills-based training context;
  • Assess the benefits and l challenges of teaching and learning heritage skills online;
  • Assess the accessibility of eLearning and demonstrate how accessibility can be embedded in eLearning in a skills-based heritage training context;
  • Demonstrate how heritage organisations can develop new models for the delivery of blended and online skills-based training;
  • Assess the capacity of the sector to deliver eLearning; and
  • Make recommendations for how heritage organisations can measure the impact of their online training.

What did we find?

We found from stakeholder and workshop participant feedback how eLearning can offer numerous benefits to heritage organisations, education providers and learners by offering greater reach, flexibility, lower costs, and more opportunities to connect heritage practitioners with learners.

We also found that eLearning can be particularly effective at making training more accessible to adult learners, including those who are already active in the labour market.

What next?

Historic England will be using this research to further understand our role in supporting the heritage sector to deliver effective training that builds resilience across the sector. This will begin with increasing awareness and understanding of technology, opportunities, and applications for eLearning within the heritage sector.

Download the report

Download the full report