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Dec 2012

Kineo and RNLI celebrate learning award success


Kineo clients the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) have won the Charity Learning Award 2012 for Best Overall Online Programme for their well thought out, flexible, easy to use “Learning Zone”, which brings resources directly to staff, crew and volunteers no matter where they are based. The solution uses the Totara LMS platform and a blended approach to learning. 

After spending a number of years patching together different learning and HR recourses, the RNLI had accumulated 5 different standalone systems to manage all of their data and resources. These systems each required separate logins, were not linked to HR or training booking systems, didn’t provide management information, and couldn’t be accessed by volunteers.

So, realising it was time for change – a big change! – the RNLI contacted The Charity Learning Consortium (CLC) who partnered with leading Global Elearning company Kineo.

A blended approach to learning, and Totara as the LMS, supported the learning to be delivered to three diverse groups: crew, volunteers and staff. This enabled the RNLI to make a number of changes:

  • Resources are now classified by RNLI competencies, with key ones linked to personal development plans
  • Staff can add performance goals and also link these to relevant courses
  • Crew can see their training assessment status and service history
  • Volunteers have development plans guiding them to recommended courses and resources.

After overcoming the major technical challenges that the project entailed plus an internal marketing campaign, the RNLI Learning Zone was successfully launched in July 2012, with over 1,000 people using the new system in the first 10 weeks alone, compared with the previous annual average of just 300.

In addition to this strong take-up, and encouraging early signs of greater staff engagement, a number of other factors impressed the judging panel, including:

  • Clear alignment with talent strategies and personal development plans, so that learning is relevant, in context and easy to access
  • Financial benefits of staff training moving from predominantly face-to-face to ‘blended’, reducing the number of classroom courses from 30 to 18
  • A saving of administrative time now that staff manage their own bookings and managers are much more involved in supporting their team’s learning and development

Learning Resources Manager at RNLI, John Le Rossignol, commented: “The Learning Zone provides a great platform for the RNLI to put its blended learning strategy into practice and as a home for exciting new resources. It puts the learner in control so all our crew, volunteers and staff can ‘plot their own course’ with flexible options to suit their needs. Although this was a technically challenging project, we had great support from both Kineo and CLC throughout the process so that we implemented on time and to budget.”

On hearing of the award win, Martin Baker, founder and CEO of The Charity Learning Consortium also commented: “The RNLI is a highly regarded and long standing member of the Consortium, and along with the project team at Kineo, its L&D team worked tirelessly on the impressive new Learning Zone. I know that at times it has been a challenging journey, but the charity never lost sight of why they had taken the project on: to give learners greater access to, and real involvement with, their own continuing professional development.

"The results speak for themselves: It’s a great achievement for the RNLI project team, and a thoroughly well-deserved award… a shining example for others to follow.”

Kineo Director Stephen Walsh echoed his thoughts, commenting: “It's been great to be part of a technology-driven learning approach that makes a difference for such a worthy charity as RNLI. We were delighted to partner with the Consortium and RNLI – it’s a worthy award winner and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership


– Notes to Editors –


About the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is the charity that saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland from 236 lifeboat stations. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 180 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 139,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in its museums, shops and offices.

About The Charity Learning Consortium

The Charity Learning Consortium (CLC) is unique! We enable cost effective eLearning within more than 100 third sector organisations, making online learning available to more than 150,000 volunteers and staff. We’re the largest group of charities, housing associations and not for profits working in the third sector in the UK, collaborating to make eLearning affordable – and effective.

Organisations join us to save money, but also benefit from networking with others with similar aims, – at our regular members meetings and annual Conference & Awards – learning from each other and sharing resources, ideas and best practice. Members also enjoy special discounts and specialist workshops designed to help them make the most of eLearning. Collaboration is at the heart of what we do.