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What’s in it For Me? The British Institute of Learning and Development


In the fourth of our series on training membership bodies, Dawn Smith looks at the newly-named British Institute for Learning and Development - formerly the British Learning Association.

How many members?
Over 300 member organisations comprising over 600 individuals

How much does it cost?
Individual membership costs £120 + VAT per annum, plus an initial joining fee of £30 + VAT.

For organisations, there’s a joining fee of £45 + VAT, plus the following annual subscription charges:

Up to three members: £360 + VAT
Up to five members: £480 + VAT
Each additional member: £45 + VAT

What do you get for your money?
Both individual members and organisations get the following benefits:

  • Information and resources including “Connect”, an online publication for members; best practice guides and updates on technical innovation and new methods; a 'members only' web area containing articles, white-papers and other information.

  • Networking and information-sharing opportunities including free Connect events, special interest groups and conferences; and a members’ online information network.

  • The Institute is about to launch a new website which will incorporate a number of new networking features and will include a wiki to which members can contribute their views on good practice.

  • Increased status through committing to a Code of Conduct.

  • Discounts on various products, services, learning technologies and external events. Discounts on t rade journals and magazines, and on all titles from the Routledge open, distance and e-learning catalogue. Access to the Thistle Hotels Advantage Scheme.

  • Organisational members are able to use the Institute’s logo and have access to a range of marketing opportunities including a free entry in the Institute’s new Yearbook with a parallel online directory of members' products, services and courses; and a discount on the Institute’s Quality Mark.
  • History
    The British Learning Association was formed through the merger of The British Association for Open Learning (launched in 1989) and The Forum for Technology in Training (begun in1982). The two organisations decided to merge in order to attract a wider audience and to achieve an enhanced profile in the industry, together with an opportunity to promote to government and national agencies.

    Earlier this year, the BLA changed its name to The British Institute for Learning and Development. The new title was legally adopted on 14 February, and the organisation is currently completing the transition. The inaugural conference of the Institute, Creating Success with 'Work Based Learning', will take place at the Royal Society of Medicine in London on 16 May.

    Why join? The Institute says:
    The British Institute for Learning & Development aims to become a centre of expertise for the learning and development community by identifying trends and disseminating information on both innovative and well established techniques and technologies for learning.

    We aim to promote quality and greater professionalism across the industry as well as creating greater coherence to a sector which embraces lifelong learning and vocational training, corporate and work based learning.

    We invite all who wish to commit to the Institute’s Code of Conduct to join and network with a growing professional community.

    Pros and cons – a member says:
    “Six months ago we would have said membership was good value for money: since then we’ve acquired two substantial contracts through networking, so now we would say it is fantastic,” says Darren Hockley, Managing Director of DeltaNet International Limited, who has been a member of the previous Association for around eight years.

    The opportunity to network with potential customers was one of the reasons DeltaNet joined the BLA. Others include sharing best practice, ‘test driving’ new ideas, and contributing to the debate on e-learning.

    “We get most of our value from the conference and networking events,” says Darren. “We also use the news feeds and best practice information, and we have also road tested ideas through networking. It’s useful to be able to ask fellow members what they are doing, what they need and what the issues are, then develop our ideas in response to the information that we gain.

    “We have started to use the quality system to align our policies and procedures to the quality mark, which helps us to be more efficient,” he adds. “We have also had the opportunity to speak at BLA events which raises our profile.”

    For the future, Darren believes the newly named Institute needs to focus more on promoting the benefits of membership to public and private sector organisations, as well as suppliers. “There should be more input from end users, to reflect the marketplace,” he says. “For example, the active membership at networking events seems to be a ratio of about 50:50 between end users to suppliers, but it would be more useful if the ratio was 10:1 in favour of end users.”

    If the organisation built a series of qualifications for learning and development professionals, that would help, he adds. “The networking and conferences are brilliant, but the one thing they don’t have is qualifications.”

    Contact details:

    Suite 12, Pixmore Centre, Pixmore Avenue
    Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, SG6 1JG
    Tel 01462 485588
    Fax 01462 485633
    Email: [email protected]


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