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Martin Baker

Charity Learning Consortium

Collaborate to succeed

Martin Baker explains why he started the

Charity Learning Consortium, the

challenges he overcame, and how

collaboration is the key to its success.

1. Could you tell us what led you to set up the

Charity Learning Consortium and what are

the key objectives?

Back in 2001 RNID asked me for a quote for

corporate e-learning, and they fell off their

chairs laughing when I told them the price. At

the time e-learning just wasn't affordable for

charities. But I had this crazy idea, that if I

could get 10 charities together, they could

share the cost. By 2006, I only had six charities

in a pilot group, but I decided to do it anyway.

It was my best decision ever and has been my

way of giving something back.

There were quite a few challenges. I had to

source new content to make it affordable and

accessible I teamed up with Jension (now

known as MicroLearn) which has been a

fantastic, ongoing relationship. They create

short, video rich courses which are perfect for

our e-learning suite. At the time most charities

didn't have the resources to self host, so I had

to come up with a manageable, cost effective

solution. We now have a dedicated

technology team that is constantly refining our

LMS.

I had to change the way we worked with

members. I'd always visited clients individually

before, but it made more sense to meet up

quarterly with everyone together in one of their

offices. Initially it was a practical, cost-saving

solution, but we quickly realised that it's a great

way to problem solve and share knowledge,

resources and solutions. Our quarterly

members meetings, annual conference and

awards, have all grown from this.

We now have almost 140 charity members and

provide e-learning to well over a million third

sector staff and volunteers. The objectives are,

as they have always been, to provide high

quality affordable content, whilst offering a

community where members can collaborate,

and share resources and best practice.

2. How do you ensure that the L&D content

and programmes distributed is of the highest

quality and kept up to date?

We partner with MicroLearn and Litmos Heroes

to provide the core e-learning content. They

use a wide range of subject matter experts,

and have rigorous quality control. Courses are

held in the cloud so any legislation updates, for

example, can easily be made. Changes

automatically update to all members' content.

It's great to be able to use the cloud in this way.

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