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
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.