Sport England

Over 110,000 users per annum | Totara | Learning platform

Over 110,000 users accessed the Sport England “one-stop-shop” for sports club resources in the last year.

Sport England is a non-departmental government body, responsible for growing and developing grassroots sport and increasing levels of activity in people within England.

Club Matters is Sport England’s one-stop-shop for Sports Clubs, providing free, convenient, practical resources to help develop and run sustainable clubs.

The Challenge

Sport England Club Matters (SECM) had three systems running in parallel, causing issues with maintenance, and wasting time on administration. They wanted to combine these sites into one and rejuvenate their online offering. This included pivoting their resource bank into a fully integrated LMS solution with newly sculpted learning pathways and bespoke eLearning modules, all packaged within an SEO-ready, contemporary and accessible website.
Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic prevented in-person efforts to support clubs and there was a need to switch to online learning/support to help clubs through the difficult time and uncertainty.

What we did

After a robust procurement process, Sport England selected Accipio as their Totara partner. We joined the core programme team, led on the online workstream and helped shape and deliver the solution with Sport England and partners.
The features of the solution included:
• Merger of three platforms into one. The complexity of administering multiple systems was taking a toll on administration time and creating training barriers to using the various platforms. It was a vital requirement to consolidate these three platforms into one simple system to reclaim time which could be invested in content development.
• Structured learning pathways and “discover features”. The former setup served as a static resource bank of articles, eLearning and resources. Together, we restructured this resource bank into dynamic structured pathways, focused on the various core themes of club management and sustainability, from Welfare & Safeguarding to Facility Management. We also established a means for users to have recommended and featured resources pushed out to them based on interests, and a tool for liking and bookmarking content.
• Search Engine Optimization. The site has a core base of Workforce users from National Governing Bodies and Active Partnership employees, but the bulk of the audience is sourced through organic search visitors. As such, the solution required a comprehensive provision for Search Engine Optimization. We implemented a custom set of plugins, Accipio Rank, to cater to this, made possible through the plugin-based nature of Totara. This enabled Clean URLs throughout the system as well as customization of Titles, Meta Descriptions, Keywords and much more.
• Accessibility compliant with WCAG 2.1AA. With the arrival of new government requirements pertaining to accessibility coming into place in September 2020, it was vital that the solution was compliant to WCAG 2.1AA standard. Upgrading to Totara 13 and focusing on accessibility in our theme development process meant we were able to create a truly accessible site.
• Contemporary UI, with flexible theme and courses layout. We worked with the brand team to develop a beautiful site. This catered for the full Multi Tenancy capabilities of Totara 13, with the possibility of including a dual branded solution in the future. We also deployed our custom course format, Immerse, which creates engaging courses with little effort.

The results

Freedom to Learn: The site has almost 24,000 registered users and over 20,000 clubs. Open access parts of the site have been accessed by over 110,000 users in the past year (source: Google Analytics), which is a 20% increase on the previous year. The site provides a “one-stop-shop” for Sports Clubs to access free, convenient and practical resources.

Freedom to Innovate: Because Totara is open-source, we were able to extend the site with a range of plugins. This included a Search Engine Optimisation plugin to help results show on “Page 1” on Google (i.e. improve search engine ranking), ‘discover’ block and custom course formats and themes.

Freedom to Save: Combining three platforms into one (including a WordPress site) delivered significant savings of over £10,000 per annum. Automation in Totara also delivered time savings in administration load.

Freedom of Choice: Sport England were previously with another Totara partner. They were able to exercise their freedom of choice and switched to Accipio.

Client quotes

“Club Matters is a sports and activity development platform powered by Totara and has gone through a revolution over the last 12 months. From an underused platform, Accipio have really driven and championed how to get the most from an updated and innovative solution to enable learning to happen. Central to this development has been allowing users to have more freedom in the ways that they can learn, making it simple, informative and interactive.

Throughout Covid-19 crisis, the Club Matters website has been an essential learning and sharing platform to help keep thousands of volunteers, clubs and organisations connected and confident in what they are able to. It’s really driven a digital revolution that needed us to create an innovative site that matched people demands and gave them the real choice in how they want to learn and develop. Moving forward, we feel better prepared to give more solutions to learning, and it’s an exciting 12 month where we will look to build on the digital revolution being felt across sport and activity.”

Niall Judge, Development Manager – Clubs