Belfast mum’s tech solution for school return

  • Northern Ireland company Learning Mole’s unique programme is helping parents prepare for the challenges of returning to school and beyond through supportive – and fun - videos on YouTube. 

    And, with almost three quarters of a million views in just 18 months, teacher Michelle Connolly has proved there’s definitely a thirst for learning among parents of primary school children. 

    The videos on Learning Mole focus on the questions parents might have, and how they can help their children.

    Michelle explained that the site and YouTube channel is designed with the aim of providing a resource that demystifies learning and is presented in easy to understand language.

    “When I was teaching I noticed a real lack of support for parents - schools were providing workshops and working hard to support parents but concepts and topics have changed so much since their schooldays,” she said. 

    “There didn't seem to be the resources to really help them understand how to help their children at home.” 

    “The home-schooling population is also growing massively across the UK - over 40% in the last few years and again there were not many video-based resources out there explaining and demonstrating concepts in real life contexts.”

    “I really wanted to create a support network for parents and so Learning Mole was created”

    With 227 videos available, aimed at parents of 3 to 11-year olds, the success has been clear with almost 750,000 views on YouTube and 35,000 hours of content watched by parents.  

    Michelle said that the concept was tried and tested on her own family.

    “My plan was to start creating video content with my own children as a starting point. I would address concepts that parents often asked me to help with such as ‘How do I support my child's reading?’, ‘What is phonics?’, and ‘How do you teach phonics?’ 

    “I aimed to create 100 videos over the course of a year and I hoped for 100,000 views on my YouTube channel - for me this was going to be an indication that the videos were useful.” 

    “I created a mini studio in our spare room at home and began creating the videos. I also enlisted the help of an animator and began scripting animations - thinking that this would also support family learning. 18 months later I have created over 200 videos and have massively exceeded my target with over 740,000 views alone on my YouTube channel.”

    In a short period of time Michelle has seen backing across the world with parents and teachers from 166 countries viewing the videos

    “I have had such a positive response so far I have had teachers, parents and children contact me thanking me for the videos - asking for advice and further concepts to be taught.

    “Teachers from across the globe contact me and tell me that they are using the videos in class and parents sharing the videos throughout home-schooling groups.

    In addition to Learning Mole Michelle runs content marketing agency ProfileTree and still does some teaching to keep up to date on educational developments. 

    But she still has the drive to continue developing Learning Mole for everyone involved in a child’s education.

    “I wanted to create a resource that really supports and helps parents - raises confidence and allows parents to enjoy supporting learning. Learning Mole is all about fun and interaction and really focusing on children learning and enjoying time with parents/ grandparents/guardians/ childminders,” she said.

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