People are always at the heart of technological change said Martin Baker, as he handed out the Charity Learning Awards 2017. Read on to find out how this year’s stars have worked tirelessly behind the scenes, to make a difference to a community of almost a million learners in charities across the UK.

L&D Professional of the Year: Marie Duncan, Learning and Development Manager, Kibble

Marie Duncan from Kibbleone of Scotland’s oldest charities and the country’s specialist provider of services for young people at risk – is an outstanding advocate for learning and development in the third sector. When you have little budget, the relationships you build really count and Marie is a fantastic collaborator who is always willing to help and mentor others. Based in Paisley she has inspired the Consortium to live stream its workshops from London to Scotland, so they become more inclusive, saving time and money for far flung members. Forward thinking, Marie constantly strives to find unique solutions to the specific learning challenges that charities face. @MarieLearns @KibblePaisley

Top Community Contributor: Phil Maynard, Technical Programmes Administrator, World Animal Protection

Phil approached the Consortium with the idea of introducing a plug in to its RoadMap Moodle LMS, which would mean learners could seamlessly sign in from Office 365. Not only was he willing to be a guinea pig and test out the new functionality, he also led the drive to recruit other members of the Charity Learning community to try it out too. How could the Consortium resist?! The plug in is now up and running at World Animal Protection and is available to all 130 members, who collectively provide eLearning to an estimated 990,000 people. So what started as a small idea has the potential to make eLearning more accessible for a huge number of people. @philmaynard @MoveTheWorldUK

Outstanding Learner Support: Graham Woods, L&D Advisor, Richmond Fellowship  

Graham Woods followed the saying ‘fail to prepare: prepare to fail’ when he launched the Consortium’s new RoadMap Moodle LMS at Richmond Fellowship! The charity is one of the largest voluntary sector providers of mental health support in England. Creating his own promotional videos, he guided the charity’s workforce through the changes, so they knew what to expect before launch. It was also a great opportunity to introduce a new learner support system, which helped to ensure that everything ran smoothly. It’s one of the best approaches the Consortium has seen to preparing learners for change. @rfmentalhealth

Technology Trailblazers: Nicola Tyzack, Internal Training Coordinator, and Rachel Townson, Online Training Development Manager, The National Autistic Society

As the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families, The National Autistic Society (NAS) has developed a range of eLearning. Rachel Townson wanted to make purchasing and managing it more efficient and streamlined, for both NAS and its customers – whilst keeping any costs to a minimum. So she got together with Nicola Tyzack to ask the Consortium for help. The Consortium was particularly keen to support them, as using specialist knowledge and expertise to create and sell eLearning is a great way for its members to raise money for their causes. So the Consortium created a new web store (called RoadMap Store) for its Moodle LMS. Rachel & Nicola work for two different parts of NAS, but they were brought together by this project and were involved every step of the way. Far more than just an online shopping basket, this new functionality will save the charity intensive administration and also makes their eLearning proposal more attractive to customers. Thanks to Nicola and Rachel, the Consortium will also be able to offer this extra, optional functionality to its members. @call_me_cynical @Autism

Best RoadMap Design: Liz Sheeran & Jessica Lovenbury, Applications Consultants, RSPCA

As the UK’s largest animal welfare charity, the RSPCA has created an instantly recognisable brand. It’s important to maintain this powerful brand for staff and volunteers. Liz and Jess therefore created a unique looking version of the Consortium’s RoadMap LMS. Their approach was to ‘keep it simple’ and focus on the user experience, whilst maintaining the RSPCA’s unique look and feel. Their attention to detail will help the charity’s learners feel instantly connected and engaged with the resources on offer. @liz_sheeran @RSPCA_official

Martin Baker, Chief Executive and founder of the Charity Learning Consortium, said he is constantly impressed by the dedication of members: “I’ve been working in online learning for more than 25 years, and one of the most valuable things I’ve learnt is that it is always people – and not technology – that transforms whatever work you are doing.  This year I have seen some fantastic examples of that, with our winners inspiring us to do things bigger, better and faster!  

“These awards are real proof of what you can achieve when you work together. I am a huge advocate of collaboration, and it has always been at the very heart of the Consortium. Congratulations to our winners for fully embracing this ethos – the results speak for themselves.”

The Awards were presented at the Charity Learning Consortium’s annual Conference in London on 16 November 2017. Find out more on Twitter #ConfCLC17