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Award winners named at WOLCE 2001


This year’s top people and programmes in the world of open and e-learning were named at the WOLCE & e-learning Awards gala dinner, held at the National Motorcycle Museum near the NEC, Birmingham, on 10th October. After dinner, over 250 guests were present while writer, commentator and former Flight Lieutenant John Nichol presented the prestigious awards.

The ‘people awards’ winners were:

Peter Ryan, of the Moorlands IT Centre, Staffordshire, who received the New Learner Award. Peter has no legs below the knees and has overcome significant personal obstacles in pursuit of learning. Thanks to a series of CD-ROM delivered open learning programs, Peter has developed numeracy skills. He is now using the Learning Centre to complete a City & Guilds qualification which, he hopes, will lead to a full time job.
Peter, who was thrilled to receive his award, said: “I have learnt a lot from my studies and have enjoyed it too. It means a lot to me to have my work recognised – I‘m over the moon!”

Jay Duffy was named as Learning Resource Centre Manager of the Year for her work for the London Borough of Ealing. Among her achievements in the past year has been increasing the usage rate of the Centre from 16 to 26 hours of development activity per day.

The winners in the ‘programs’ categories included Imparta, for their CD-ROM and Internet-delivered product, ‘Strategy Co-Pilot’, which was named Generic Product of the Year. Richard Barkey, chief executive officer of Imparta, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this award, and see it as an important recognition of the increasing role that simulations are playing in moving the whole e-learning industry forward.”
Strategy Co-Pilot aims to provide accelerated experience of applying the key strategy tools while in a realistic and engaging business setting.

Competition in the Bespoke Product of the Year category was stiff, with over 40 entries received. The judges chose VEGA Group Plc, for its work for Going Places. The product was rolled out in just six weeks and was used to train over 6,000 staff.
Suzannah Paterson, of VEGA Group Plc, said: “It’s always very pleasing to gain praise from your peers as well as your clients. There are an increasing number of exceptionally high class bespoke e-learning products in use at present, so we’re especially delighted that the judges have recognised the quality of VEGA Group’s work in such a highly competitive marketplace.”

The Online Product of the Year award went to The British Council, for its Online English Course. The course was developed to help achieve one of the six aims of The British Council: to promote wider and more effective learning of the English language overseas, especially as a means of influencing young people’s views of the UK.
Grahan Bradford, electronic learning project manager at The British Council, based in Milan, said: “Winning this award is fantastic news for us. To date, some 500 students have completed the Online English Course and we are now set to roll out this program worldwide.”

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Outstanding Contribution to the Open Learning Industry award to Donald Clark, chief executive officer, Epic Group, one of the leading developers of e-learning materials. Donald has made a major contribution to the development of e-learning approaches and standards through his work with IMS, IITT and other bodies. He has also advised key politicians and Government departments on e-learning and, most recently, gave advice on the use of e-learning in developing countries.

Donald said: “It was nice to be recognised by my peers as having made some sort of difference.
“I've spent most of my adult life in technology based learning and there has never been a more exciting time to participate. This may sound corny, but there's a sense in which we have the chance to change the world.
“So good luck to all of us in the UK who want to build an industry on our home ground,” he concluded.

Deborah Sibthorpe, of event organisers Venture Marketing Group, commented: “The Awards dinner provided a splendid setting in which to celebrate the open and e-learning industry’s considerable achievements over the past year. We’ve been overwhelmed by interest in these Awards and are looking forward to 2002 already.”


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