The library is a democratic equaliser, a community space that serves to level social inequalities whilst promoting community engagement and social connection, as people come together both voluntarily and informally. With an increased reliance on online learning, we must consider how we can replicate this digitally at the British Library, ensuring disadvantaged young people disproportionately affected by the pandemic are purposefully and successfully reached.
Global evidence concerning the impact of school closures demonstrates growth in the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils. Prompted by the pandemic, learning resources within remote learning environments play a vital role in levelling the disadvantaged experience. This project examines how digital play enriches learning by encouraging exploration, ensuring the British Library inspires collaborative, multi-sensory and experiential learning through their digital resources.
This research will adopt a participant-centred approach to assess how the British Library can reduce barriers to online resources focussing on mitigating issues experienced by disadvantaged youth eligible for pupil premium. The study will make use of mixed methods in conducting research to develop a comprehensive understanding of needs, and to consider how the data gathered may inform digital resources. My research will be framed around an integrated Multimodal Model for Online Education, incorporating Dede’s (2005) categorisation of neomillennial learning styles, which include increased use of mobile devices, co-development of personalised learning experiences, and an opportunity for collective reflection. Collaborating with participants, I will conduct research activities centred on access, discoverability, use and contribution to social capital.
My research will make interdisciplinary contributions to digital humanities, social sciences and information sciences, through an investigation of current barriers to online learning resources. Shaped by its participants, this research will contribute to strategies improving access, discoverability and use of digital resources for youth from low socio-economic backgrounds at the British Library and fellow memory institutions.