Bafta heralds UK as online Hollywood

July 14, 2000

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has added a new category in its annual awards, aiming to create a "beacon of excellence" for online learning.

Bafta believes the UK can become the Hollywood of online learning and that a set of guiding principles are needed for creative professionals who are grappling with the rapidly changing environment.

Interactive learning has much in common, in terms of skills, with the games industry and already has crossovers with television and radio. David Oliver, chair of the Bafta interactive entertainment committee, said the academy wanted to stimulate a range of excellent web resources and tools.

"The crossover potential is great because there are similar technical issues in both industries. The knowledge of the games industry can be applied and levered to provide a base for the Hollywood of education within the UK," he said.

"It's an immature market with massive potential. We're waving the flag here for business opportunities while promoting excellence in the application of technology to learning.

"We created the online learning category because there is a discrepancy between what is being delivered via CD-Rom and DVD and what is available online," said Mr Oliver.

"At the moment they are in different leagues. We want to put the spotlight on examples of best online practice using the three Rs of interactive entertainment: the material must be Riveting, Relevant and oRiginal."

The Bafta panel will judge the online learning category on ease of use and accessibility.

Mr Oliver is a consultant with the Performance Group, based in the UK and Norway. His work focuses on the areas of strategic development and innovation and on the challenges and opportunities created by the information society.

His interest in learning technologies was strengthened while he was at ICL, where he was the director of business strategy within the learning and knowledge division. ICL is sponsoring the Bafta learning awards categories this year.

The Performance Group works with corporations, the European Commission and national governments. It contributed to the development of the UK's National Grid for Learning and University for Industry.

It has also developed the CyberSkills Workshops now springing up in communities around the world. Mr Oliver was a founding director of the CyberSkills Association and a founding director of the European Education Partnership.

Details of how to enter the awards are on the Bafta website: www.bafta.org

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