The Digability project has wider implications than just developing or improving an individual’s archaeological or historical knowledge. We feel that archaeology/heritage is a fantastic vehicle for developing our students’ sense of self and improving their transferable skills, as well as their health and well-being. We have found many of our students have improved their communication skills and confidence as a result of participating in the project. Our students have particularly thrived in a learning environment where they are encouraged to voice their opinions. All our students feedback positively and very personally about the impact the project has had on them and their health and well-being, but it is hard to measure these apart from through quotes.
The capture of this data is becoming more and more important as we all seek to justify our funding to those outside the heritage industry.
At the recent WEA conference in Cambridge we learnt of projects working with refugees who use historical sites and museums as a way of introducing immigrants to Britain, promoting discussion and language development in addition to giving navigational landmarks around a large city such as Glasgow.
We would love to hear if anyone has managed to turn these quotes into quantifiable data or if you have found innovative ways of capturing health and well-being benefits. What questions should be asked? Often when presented with a questionnaire at the beginning of a course students are a bit baffled by what they should put down for questions such as ‘What is your health like?’, so it is hard to formulate a measure of development over the course as there is no starting point recorded. Can we capture data only at the end of the course with questions such as ‘Has your health improved?’