I’m John Mulhearn. I’m a bagpipe instructor at
the National Piping Centre. That’s my primary role here. And secondary to
that I suppose I’ve become the e-learning
coordinator as well. Our project essentially
is an e-learning portal where we deliver live
webinars, which are then stored as archived lessons
via our e-learning website. And users can sign up
as a monthly subscriber and access all the
content on the site or they can just pay on
demand per lesson as well. We’re outgrowing our building
here at the piping centre. So we needed to look at new ways
that we can grow our tuition business without having to
hire new premises on top. So the premise behind
this was that we would be able to teach
groups across the world all at one time. A way to grow our own
tuition business essentially. The overall idea has
been very well received through our already existing
sort of market I suppose. So I mean a lot
of our subscribers are people that we already
has a relationship with in one form or another. And so I was positively
taken up by them. Part of the portal was to create
a media archive in which we would store various documents,
historical documents, educational documents. We’re still in the early
stages of really growing that archive through. Sort of a quite time
consuming thing to go through and digitise old analogue
recordings and what not. Yeah. It’s something that we will
continue to grow over time. The uptake has been
much more on demand. So we will find that
it might be one or two people attending live. Whereas there’s the scope for up
to 99 people could attend live. But just with the geographical
spread of where students are it’s impossible to get 20 people
in a live room at one time. From the teaching
point of view there is the hurdle of the
difference in the way that we deliver a lesson. So that was a hurdle
I suppose in so much as we had to
prepare for lectures rather than interactive
lessons more. Although the original concept
had been for the webinars to be interactive,
the reality of it is that it’s difficult to
maintain a sort of good flow to a session when
you have to cut back and forward with
questions or bring other people into
the conversation. There’s ongoing sort
of technical glitches through live webinars that
become quite a nuisance to have to rectify. And I personally
would perhaps want to move more away from the
live element of the classes and deliver it more in
an on demand type effort so it was prerecorded lessons
that could be edited down and actually make a better
product of the lessons. Through our previous
fundraiser here, Andrea Boyd, when she was applying
for the funding initially she did some
research about a few different local tech companies and
settled on Yellow Brick House. They were quite an interesting
little sort of cooperative basically. And they’ve kind of got
lots of bits of expertise in various different areas. And they were very good
to work with generally. They were very understanding
of what we were doing. It was a very new venture
for them at the same time. But I think that they’ve
delivered up sort of everything that we wanted. They had a couple of
problems along the way themselves in that their
lead developer midway through the project
bailed on them on basically for
personal reasons. Which I think gave
them quite a sore head. Although it was never
really passed on to us. Which is quite good. They managed to resolve
their own issues without bringing us into it. And through our
relationship with them on the e-learning
website we’ve developed a further relationship with
one of their team members. Particularly another
one of his companies that’s enabled us to
get more into doing live streamed events as well. So there’s been an offshoot
off that initial relationship. Find a partner that you can
work well with basically would be the most
important piece of advice. I mean there’s likely to be lots
and lots of different companies out there that can fulfil what
you need but you need to work with individuals that
you’re happy working with and that you can build a good
relationship with personally. And then further on
from that perhaps be looking for
people that you’re working with that you
can perhaps see avenues for further development
staying aligned with as well. Well the Nesta R&D
fund has allowed us to explore some
new opportunities for our own business. Ways of growing our own
business whilst our own in house capacity seems to be
not actually shrinking but feels that way sometimes. And the relationships that we’ve
built through the Nesta project anyway have been
perfectly adequate. And through those
relationships we’ve made other
relationships as well. [MUSIC PLAYING]