Here’s to 2016, and some readings

twitter imageLike many, I had plans for a 2015 wrap-up/2016 predictions post but suddenly I found myself staring down the month of February – where did that time go?! But, others have filled that gap so I suggest you check out Seb Chan’s 2015 round-up or Art Museum’s Teaching Year in Review for some inspiration.

However, two interesting posts recently passed my (messy and disorganised) desk that got me thinking (and re-energised!) so I wanted to share.

The first is from nbnco, the organisation responsible for the roll out of Australia’s National broadband network. According their latest review of future learning, the classroom of 2016, a peek into the digital future of education:

  • Textbooks will no longer exist in ten years’ time
  • Tablets and smart boards will be the teaching tools of the future in the flipped classroom, where teachers and students both active participants in their learning
  • Students will learn in their own space and time, increasingly at home
  • A move from paper-based teaching to online resources
  • Virtual reality lessons and 3D printed materials will be more readily available: “3D printing will allow students to enhance their critical thinking skills as they work and collaborate with others to recreate everyday objects. For teachers, 3D printing will mean lessons instantly become a new world for children to observe and explore.”
  • [Here’s some student’s views about future learning]

The second, 6 Marketing trends that will shape 2016, from the semagroup, we will see:

  • The year of “customer experience”
  • Brands who genuinely put their customers at the heart of everything they do are far more likely to succeed and grow.
  • The death of digital marketing – it’s just marketing
  • No linear pathways in how customers relate to a brand – they will shape their own experiences across a “range of touch points”
  • Video content on the rise: “Who wants to read through a page of copy when you can watch a 30 second video instead?”
  • Email is still the preferred form of communication – so those e-newsletters are critical!
  • [Here’s some thoughts about digital as a dimension of everything]

What about museums?

Although these are not new ideas, I still found them useful to re-visit and think about what they mean for museums. Here’s some quick thoughts:

  • Need to continue putting education materials online, in ways that help shape lessons and learning outcomes, making use of platforms that teachers already use, such as the Apple Store and Google Cultural Institute
  • Consider the whole-of-visit experience – we know that museums are wonderful sites for social learning, but we need to be looking at more prosaic aspects of a visit like toilets and other facilities, including access for all visitors. For example, a study conducted in late 2015 for a major project found that:
    • Visitors are now starting to think about the whole experience, as an experience, much more than the content, program or exhibition
    • Hospitality is really important and was mentioned often – visitors expect more than hospital-style catering that many museums seem to offer
    • Visitor comfort is a big concern – after food, visitors spoke a lot about seating, bathrooms, spaces to rest and, for adult cultural visitors, zones away from kids
  • This means that customer journey mapping will become more critical.
  • Digital to be fully integrated into everything we do – does this finally mean no dedicated digital departments in museums, with digital being written into everyone’s job description (if it isn’t already)? I know this has long been a source of discussion in our field but I don’t quite think we’re there yet.
  • [Here’s some other thoughts about participation]

table 2

I also found it worthwhile re-visiting this summary of the Horizons Reports which also cover many of these issues from a museum education perspective.


So, this year my focus will be around consolidating our digital presence, while thinking more about the whole-of-visitor experience across a range of audiences.

Happy 2016 all!


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