Knowledge & Learning Beta: Welcome to the new site

Thursday 18 April 2013, 11:39

Chris Sizemore Chris Sizemore Executive Editor

Hi I'm Chris Sizemore executive editor for the BBC's Knowledge & Learning product.

Today marks the beginning of a journey to unlock the learning potential of BBC content. As a first step we are releasing a new website which we’re currently calling Knowledge & Learning Beta class_clips_1024.jpg GCSE Class Clips content on the new Knowledge & Learning Beta

When complete the Knowledge & Learning product will bring together factual and learning content from over 100 existing BBC websites, from Bitesize to Food to Science to History and will forge them into a single consistent user experience designed to make learning feel effortless and delightful.

The product will play a 'glue' role too, helping bind the different parts of BBC Online together for audiences.

The content produced by the Knowledge & Learning (K&L) team ranges from the recent Great British class calculator, revision guides for students, BBC programme clips to be used by teachers in classrooms to topical features around the arts, history, food, science, natural history and more.

We hope to redefine how our audiences consume this educational and factual content by effectively combining technology with storytelling.

Our latest phase

We have already transformed the way in which we produce content within our topical genre sites such as Nature, History and Science. What we are announcing here is another major step towards realising our ambition.

For the all-new Knowledge & Learning Beta website our initial focus has been twofold: First, we’re rolling our topical genre content into this new site. We aren't changing the URLs but we are changing the visual banner on, for instance, the History index and pages. Second, we’re adding to the new site our Class Clips audio/visual resources that help teachers create engaging classroom discussions for students.

Over the coming months we’ll be migrating all the content we create for teachers, students and lifelong learners into the new site.

The existing Class Clips website is well loved and used by many thousands of teachers and students each week. However, the current experience isn’t optimised for mobile or tablet which is increasingly important in the classroom.

Our new website has been built from the ground up using responsive web design, meaning that the content can be viewed just as easily on any web browser, on any screen size, and on any platform.

Our team have used a sophisticated system that detects the capabilities of each browser and device and serves just the content that’s appropriate in order to minimise download times. We will build from this solid base as we add new areas to the Knowledge & Learning Beta website.

One of the biggest challenges of the project so far has been re-processing all of the content that resided in Class Clips. Over the past five months we’ve transcoded everything again, ensuring that there are high-quality versions of each clip that will play out on any device.

In parallel the team has also been reviewing all that content, assigning it a place in the new information architecture and, in some cases, rewriting the notes for the classroom. This content is organised around the UK’s national curricula.

To start with we’ve included around 2000 of the 10,000 programme clips that currently reside in Class Clips and we’ll be adding the rest over the coming weeks. We’ll continue to publish thought-provoking topical features such as How anarchists exposed secret nuclear bunkers in genres like history, science, natural history and the arts.

Meanwhile the team is also busy building a new clip search tool that will be added to the website shortly along with support for native UK languages such as Welsh - so keep coming back to check on our progress.

We would very much welcome your feedback on the new site. You can either add comments to this post, or email us at

Chris Sizemore is executive editor for the BBC Knowledge & Learning product.


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    Comment number 1.

    Might be worth putting a link to the new beta site on /learning. Makes sense to merge the various learning websites into a single education site (I'm assuming that's what is happening). Will the Learning Zone's very old website ( ) also finally be incorporated into this new site at least get a 'lick of paint'?

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    Comment number 2.

    Good progress, new website is responsive. Subjects strictly divided by exams though, which gives an unnecessarily fractured view of each subject as a whole.

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    Comment number 3.

    Wow! We will be following your progress with great interest from Panama City.

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    Comment number 4.

    Thank you very much for the comments, everyone. Appreciate you having a look at our new site.

    @Keith, good point about adding a link to /learning - I think we'll do that after getting more of the eventual total of around 10000 clips added in. Just to note, we aren't merging just the education and learning sites in, but also migrating in content from our factual genre areas, such as Science and History, as well.

    @Benjamin, I think I understand your point, but let me just be sure. Do you mean that there's no way to view ALL maths or algebra clips across the the keystages? If so, that's true at the moment - would you find it useful if we added the ability to view content across subjects as a whole? It's something we could definitely consider.

    @Susan - thanks much for the kind words. Hope you like what you see as we continue to improve the site and add in more content over the next months.

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    Comment number 5.

    It is an incontrovertible fact that bbc has been doing a great job but the problem i have now is the inability to have updates sent into my inbox.Please help in this regard.Thanks.

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    Comment number 6.

    @Chris, thanks for your response, your understanding is spot on. I understand that this is how the class clips have always been organised but I do think there is potential to tag the content and allow the user to organise it by subject, keystage, historical period, location, etc.

    I imagine that when complete the site will be targeted at everyone, not just those studying for school exams.

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    Comment number 7.

    Thanks for the additional comments.

    @tajudeenbakare, though i'd like to help, I'm not sure exactly what you are referring to with "updates sent into my inbox". Could you give me a bit more info, possibly? Thank you.

    @Benjamin, I agree much with your suggestion about how to organise the content. I'll roll this feedback into the project. Thank you. And, yes, in the fullness of time, the Knowledge & Learning product will be for all audiences.

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    Comment number 8.

    I'm trying to watch some videos on the site but I keep getting "media selection request failed" messgae

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    Comment number 9.

    It would be great to have the ability to embed some video clips to allow us to put them in learning resources at school. I don't know if that's a possibility!

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    Comment number 10.

    I agree with the comment above. Some of the clips on the old class clips site could be embeded, these same clips now don't seem to have the embed button. Could this be included as clips elsewhere on the BBC do have this function. This is extremely useful in order to include clips within school learning environments.

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    Comment number 11.


    This sounds great, but disappointed it has an affect on some other areas. I was part of the BBC learn spanish facebook page - which had over 25,000 likes, was a shame to see it close down.


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    Comment number 12.

    Please put a link on the "BBC News - Home" page! And keep up the magnificent content -- a lot of my favorite BBC articles are here.

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    Comment number 13.

    Thank you all very much for the comments.

    @Hook and @asellers, you are right about not yet being able to embed clips from the new site. Our plan is to add this feature to clips on the new site over the next months, so watch this space.

    @Nic, I agree that it's disappointing to close something down, but in keeping with the focus of this new product, we've needed to confirm that all our activity online meets our current strategy. We came to the tough decision that providing online learning resources around modern European languages to adult learners isn't part of our core remit. However, we'll continue to provide revision material for primary and secondary students in these subjects.

    @Sam, I haven't been able to recreate the error message you received, could you perhaps provide more detail, we may be able to help? Many thanks.

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    Comment number 14.

    Further to my previous comment, I don't live in the UK and I use Chrome (although I tried the links using Explorer too). When I click on a video, the video starts loading, the BBC Two logo appears, but then it stops. I'm still getting the same message (i.e. media selection request failed). I'm visiting the ICT (GCSE) section mainly.

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    Comment number 15.

    Once again, the BBC are producing useful content for teaching and teachers. The lack of science content prevents me from making and real comment as to the usefulness though. I would love to try this resource out in my lessons. When will we see science comming online?


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