United Kingdom

[GB] Ofcom launches media literacy evaluation tookit

IRIS 2023-3:1/12

Eric Munch

European Audiovisual Observatory

On 7 February 2023, Ofcom released an evaluation toolkit for media literacy intervention, in the context of its "Making Sense of Media" programme – the goal of which is to “help improve the online skills, knowledge and understanding of UK adults and children” according to Ofcom. The programme is one of the measures put in place by Ofcom in accordance with its statutory duty to promote media literacy and to carry out research into media literacy matter, as set out respectively in sections 11 and 14(6)(a) of the Communications Act 2003.

With this toolkit, the regulator aims to provide those who conduct media literacy interventions with the ability to evaluate their own projects, and share their results with others, in order to help make future projects more effective. The document is designed in a user-friendly way and its contents are organised in a simple structure: a quick overview of the concept and importance of evaluation, and its three key phases – summarized as preparing, doing and sharing, with each part of the document featuring definitions and fictional examples illustrating the situations and concepts described, in addition to links to other reports, articles and tools.

The toolkit details the benefits of approaching the evaluation using the concept of theory of change. This approach allows to identify the initial assumptions which led to the creation of the media literacy initiative and to define its objective. The evaluation therefore aims at testing those assumptions and determining whether the initiatives taken are conclusive. It also provides many tips to design efficient evaluation questions and to gather and analyse relevant data all while minimising bias and respecting legal, ethical and safeguarding considerations.

In the last section of the report, Ofcom makes a strong case for the sharing of the information gathered through the evaluation process as a means to benefit other media literacy initiatives and participate in raising their quality.

The toolkit itself is accompanied by two online, searchable libraries listing media literacy initiatives and media literacy research.


This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.